Harvesting bitter-sweet fruits of the recovery
Having so long watched out for green shoots, the first real fruits of recovery were handed out in the Dáil yesterday. They had both a sweet and bitter taste. Sweet, because as maths teachers will tell you, all numbers start with zero; and zero was all we were left with after so many years of barren austerity.
The sourness was a residue of Budgets gone by under the Troika, which had a choking impact on families, workers, and business. Finance Minister Michael Noonan rightly credited the Irish people with deliverance from the darkest days of the crash. Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin was less reticent about the role of the Coalition in restoring the ravaged fortunes of the nation.
When they were elected, the Budget deficit stood at 12.5pc of GDP, he reminded us. This year it will be 2.1pc. Take a bow, ministers. Success should be savoured, and shared.