Wednesday 17 January 2018

Cuts plan to be revealed next week in bid to calm markets

Fionnan Sheahan Political Editor

THE Government will publish its four-year budgetary plan early next week to calm international markets -- but Budget day looks likely to remain December 7.

The possibility of bringing forward the Budget by a week to boost investor confidence is also under consideration.

But a coalition source said November's taxation and spending figures would be required for the Budget, meaning Thursday, December 2, would be the earliest possible date, so it wouldn't make that much difference.

Rather than waiting until after the Donegal South West by-election, the Government will reveal the full details of the highly anticipated four-year plan next week.

Justice Minister Dermot Ahern said he expected the plan to be published in the early part of the week.

"We are fully working on that. The Cabinet will be meeting very early tomorrow morning to discuss all these issues again with the Finance Minister before he travels to Brussels. It is our desire to get the four-year plan out as soon as possible," he said.

"We haven't made a decision in relation to it but I anticipate it will be some time next week," he added.

Taoiseach Brian Cowen reiterated the Government is making no application to Europe or the International Monetary Fund for funding for the State.

But Mr Cowen said the Coalition would continue to work with partners to find ways of bringing stability to markets.


"We will work our way through this. What we need are calm heads and cool consideration," he said. He added that the Government would explore with European colleagues "what way we can bring stability into the financial markets".

But Fine Gael finance spokesman Michael Noonan said Mr Cowen was making more sense than "shell-shocked ministers" yet was still talking in riddles.

"It's quite clear the Taoiseach is trying to make a distinction between the sovereign debt and the crisis in the banking situation," he said.

The problem was the banks and State were inextricably linked, he added.

Mr Noonan cited the latest shift on the publication of the four-year plan as evidence the Government was again making it up as it went along.

"They have been wrong so much, so often that there is very little credibility left in them -- at home or abroad," he said.

Mr Ahern reiterated that Ireland had not applied for any assistance, but admitted there were talks ongoing.

"Yes of course there are constant contacts going on. When you consider that 24 out of the 27 countries are in deficit, those contacts are going on between the ECB, Ireland and the European Commission," he said.

Mr Ahern failed to guarantee the Government would not need a bailout for either the banks or the State.

"It is not a matter for me to be confident. As I said last night, we are taking this situation on a day-to-day basis and that will continue. As you can see, things are happening pretty quickly so we can only take it day by day and Ireland is confident in relation to our funding for ourselves as a country."

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Business Newsletter

Read the leading stories from the world of Business.

Promoted Links

Also in Business