Thursday 8 December 2016

Fiscal blame laid at Bertie's door

Published 02/03/2011 | 05:00

THE Fine Gael and Labour negotiating teams may be sceptical about Brian Lenihan's hint that he published yesterday's report on the Department of Finance to help the new government. But he has done the right thing.

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It does bring much-needed clarity to the processes which led to national bankruptcy. In so doing, the report suggests the electorate was right to savage Fianna Fail. The report finds that the faults were mainly failures of politics, not analysis.

A quick reading sees the department coming out of the report quite well. The budgetary frameworks which were signed off by the Minister for Finance each June might well have prevented the collapse in the public finances, it suggests. Instead, the Cabinet passed budgets which, over 10 years, provided extra tax cuts and spending increases amounting to more than €6bn. That is pretty close to the underlying hole in the public finances which will not be closed by a return to normal growth.

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