Monday 20 November 2017

I can't rule out more sensitive leaks, warns Noonan

Barry Duggan

FINANCE Minister Michael Noonan has admitted there could be further leaks on the Budget because of the amount of documentation being sent to Europe.

Mr Noonan said the European Commission had expressed "regret" after sensitive details of the Budget -- including a looming VAT hike -- were leaked in Germany last week.

But speaking in Limerick yesterday, Mr Noonan would not rule out further leaks over the next fortnight. "I can't give you a commitment that there won't be leaks in the future because to get the money that we require a lot of documents are generated and they are all over the European countries. So we can't control what happens them once they leave our hands," he said.

Mr Noonan said at the end of each financial quarter, he and the Central Bank governor had to put everything on paper and send it to the European authorities and the IMF.

"On this occasion, the European authorities asked for a prediction of what we would be doing in the Budget.

"They are not deciding what cuts we make or what taxes we increase, but what they are concerned about is that what we are doing will be adequate to fill the gap," he said.

He added there was no more documentation due to go to Europe before Budget day but warned that "our colleagues in Europe have to be discreet".

"In general terms, if things go to governments they are usually confidential. If things go to parliaments, well there are 40 members on the committee and somebody says there's a good story here -- off we go. It happens in the Irish parliament too," he said.

Later yesterday, Mr Noonan officially opened the Tierney Building at University of Limerick (UL) -- a new centre for innovation and software research.

Munster player Paul O'Connell, a former student at UL, was among the local dignitaries who greeted him.

The giant second row swapped his jersey for a smart suit, as he continued to smile following the province's last gasp victory over Castres on Saturday.

The Tierney Building promises to support the growth of 35 new start-up companies between 2011 and 2016, generating more than 100 new jobs.

Irish Independent

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