This is not a time for timidity
Finance Minister Michael Noonan has the support and sympathy of the nation as he struggles, on the one side, to shape the December 6 Budget with its €3.8bn in tax increases and public spending cuts; on the other, to keep abreast of European and global efforts to prevent the economic crisis from turning into a catastrophe.
He deserves that support and sympathy. Less clear is whether he deserves forgiveness for his miscalculation of the effects of increasing VAT by 2pc to 23pc.
Everybody accepts that the total in tax rises and spending cuts has to come to €3.8bn.