What is the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council for?
The Irish Fiscal Advisory Council is one of the few formal institutions created in response to the financial crisis.
The idea is hardly novel; an independent watchdog to scrutinise government budgets are common in most democracies including Canada, Denmark, Germany, Britain and the US.
Many of these councils have a long-established role and wide responsibilities, with some councils even costing the spending plans advanced by opposition parties.
Here in Ireland, Fianna Fáil has called for our council to cost manifesto promises, but with just five (young) permanent staff, this is impossible unless the council's resources are expanded significantly.
Established in 2012 as a condition of the bailout, the council's main task is instead to rule whether Government plans are prudent.
Other tasks include monitoring compliance with Irish and EU budgetary rules, but the council has no power to punish and must rely on persuasion alone.