Thursday 21 September 2017

Ministers demanded redraw of new economic strategy

Pat Rabbitte
Pat Rabbitte

Niall O'Connor, Michael Brennan and Caroline Crawford

MINISTERS demanded a redraw of the new economic plan after complaining that it was "railroaded" by the Department of Finance and did not contain enough detail on targets for their departments.

The Cabinet is today due to sign off on the revised medium-term economic plan, which will set out a strategy up to 2020.

But ministers were at loggerheads over the priorities contained in the plan and there have been at least four different drafts.

The Irish Independent has learned that Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte protested against what he saw as a lack of emphasis on energy.

Transport Minister Leo Varadkar and Jobs Minister Richard Bruton were also adamant the plan needed to better reflect the priorities of their departments.

"The heavyweights were trying desperately to have their say.

"Mr Rabbitte particularly wanted his stamp on the plan. He wanted it to reflect more on energy jobs and he got his way," a minister said.

PROTESTED

Sources say a number of ministers protested against the "railroading" of the plan by the Department of Finance.

It is understood that Mr Bruton is now satisfied with the redrawn plan, which will contain commitments relating to improving economic competitiveness and innovation.

A government source confirmed that the concerns of ministers had led to the plan being redrawn.

"The principle complaints that ministers had was that their own areas weren't covered," the source said.

The medium-term economic strategy is expected to be published today.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny is due to announce the details at a news conference in Government Buildings with Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore, Finance Minister Michael Noonan and Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin.

Speaking at Mayo General Hospital, where he was opening a refurbished dialysis unit and turning the sod of a cystic fibrosis unit, Mr Kenny said there was a sense of pride among Irish people about exiting the bailout.

"That gives our country a little more flexibility. It doesn't mean the situation has changed overnight and as I pointed out this is a time for keeping a steady hand on the tiller," he said.

Irish Independent

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