'A very foolish gamble' - Micheál Martin says Budget was 'empty on Brexit'
The Budget was “empty on Brexit” and failed to plan for currency fluctuations, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has said.
In a scathing assessment of the Government’s strategy on the UK’s departure from the EU, Mr Martin said the figures used in the Budget are “a very foolish gamble indeed”.
“The budget failed in relation to properly addressing the Brexit issue,” he said.
The Cork TD took issue with the Department of Finance’s decision to base its figures on an exchange rate that would see €1 be worth between 85p-£1 next year.
Mr Martin pointed out that already €1 is trading for 91p and many experts are predicting parity by the end of the year.
He called for a ‘Currency Crisis Package’ to help business affected.
“Nothing substantial happened yesterday which was a huge surprise to many people,” he said.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny defended the Government’s planning for Brexit, while describing it as “the greatest economic challenge” to face Ireland and EU in the past 50 years
He said the result of June’s referendum had caused confusion, lack of certainty, great concern and anxiety.
“Our priorities are to look after the interests of citizens, look after Ireland’s economy and the relationship with Northern Ireland and the UK,” he said.
“The immediate concern is the consequence of the devaluation of the sterling against the euro and the difficulty that is causing for exports.”
Mr Kenny said there were new resources for the enterprise agencies, supports for farmers and tax breaks for entrepreneurs.
He said the “situation is quite fluid until the Prime Minister moves Article 50”.