Saturday 21 January 2017

Even a generous Budget may not be enough for this Dáil

Published 15/09/2016 | 02:30

Michael Noonan presents Budget 2015. This year’s version is back to that ‘dratted fiscal space’
Michael Noonan presents Budget 2015. This year’s version is back to that ‘dratted fiscal space’

THIS will be a Budget like no other - irrespective of who gets it through, or when exactly. Not even 1981-82, when there were three Budgets, from different governments, will quite compare. It is all about politics, then and now. The minority administrations of Charles Haughey and Garrett FitzGerald failed in efforts to get TDs who were not in the government to support their Budgets. Now, the efforts concentrate on Independents who are inside the Cabinet tent.

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An even more striking difference is that the failed Budgets of 1981-82 were crisis measures of the kind we saw again all too painfully again in 2009-12. Behind the title spin of Mr Haughey's "The Way Forward," was a massive programme of spending cuts, which could only take the public sector backwards.

Six months later, Dr FitzGerald fell on cuts to food subsidies, although there was a better media angle about children's shoes, VAT and women with small feet. (Look it up, if you must).

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