Sunday 19 February 2017

Coalition has ridden its luck and has made little meaningful change with this giveaway

Published 15/10/2015 | 02:30

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan
Minister for Finance Michael Noonan

Budget 2016 was the last hand of cards to be played by our Economic Management Council. No government has ever devolved such power of decision-making to a small cabinet sub group. Five budgets combined together add up to quite a legacy. Their own narrative gives them credit for saving the country and creating the fastest-growing economy in the OECD. And it would be churlish not to acknowledge their collective cohesion, and resilience in the face of protests and stamina.

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But they refuse to admit their extraordinary good fortune, thanks to external economic circumstances over the past two years. Ireland Inc is an open exporting economy, dependent upon its competitiveness. The halving of oil prices means significant savings, we import 90pc of our energy requirements.

Sustained 0pc ECB interest rates create the perfect investment scenario. A 20pc devaluation of the euro against sterling and US dollar boosts foreign visitors and trade earnings; while Mario Draghi's quantitative easing provides a macro stimulus and cheaper sovereign debt servicing. Having weathered perfect storms, we now enjoy perfect platforms for growth.

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