Friday 21 July 2017

Opening up the books

The Minister for Finance has not given up hope of what he last night called "a national unified effort" to tackle the budget deficit crisis and to present a display of Irish unity of purpose. 'Consensus' is last month's word and was dismissed with contempt by the Labour leader in particular.

But Brian Lenihan clearly hopes that if the opposition parties are given all the information about forecasts and targets, some sort of united front can still be achieved.

Today he will be asking the Cabinet to approve such disclosure and, later in the week, he will publish what he called "pre-plan information" about the four-year plan and the December Budget. The sharing of information will also place some responsibility on an opposition that may find itself in government next year, perhaps even at a time when the country has to resume borrowing.

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