Wednesday 28 June 2017

He's back -- and Noonan is setting the agenda

Fine Gael's finance spokesman tells Daniel McConnell the public sector has to be cut down to size to save more than €3bn

MICHAEL Noonan is no sheep, we all know that. He is his own man and is willing to speak his mind, even if it isn't party policy.

Over the course of two hours on Friday in his native Limerick, I listened as Noonan -- the man most likely to be the next Finance Minister -- laid out his vision for Ireland. Included in that vision is why €3bn in cuts isn't enough; how real poverty has re-emerged in Ireland; why 40,000 public sector jobs should be cut; why further cuts in social welfare are needed; why the bank guarantee and the nationalisation of Anglo were wrong; and why he described Dermot Ahern as a "nasty little man".

Three months ago, Michael Noonan cut a rather solemn figure on the backbenches of Fine Gael. Out of favour and running out the clock, it seemed. Then came his startling revelation about his wife Flor's advanced Alzheimer's disease, which led to her being placed into full-time care.

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