Monday 25 September 2017

Coalition's vote-getting exercise risks Ireland's economic recovery

Finance Minister Michael Noonan (left) and Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin.
Finance Minister Michael Noonan (left) and Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin.
Finance Minister Michael Noonan
Brendan Howlin, Minister for Public Expediture and Reform
Shane Coleman

Shane Coleman

The Government is playing a dangerous game right now. The fragile economic recovery is only getting off the ground after six brutal years and already the promises are starting to mount up.

Hot on the heels of Minister for Finance Michael Noonan's hints about a gentler-than-expected budget (against the advice of the ESRI and the Fiscal Advisory Council), Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin has told the Irish Independent about his plans to reverse public sector pay and pension cuts.

Preparing for the end of the "financial emergency" was Howlin's description. But what we're really talking about is preparing for the next general election. There is a determination in the coalition - and particularly in Labour - not to repeat the "mistake" of 1996/97. Back then Ruairi Quinn, as Finance Minister, adopted a very prudent budgetary approach.

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