Tuesday 20 March 2018

Taoiseach says no let up in Budget 2014

Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Taoiseach Enda Kenny

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny has said there will be no easing off on austerity in the October Budget and added that he wants to "finish the job" of introducing the necessary cuts and taxes.

Mr Kenny was addressing the MacGill Summer School in Glenties, Co Donegal, after Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore suggested the next Budget might not include the full €3.1bn of cuts and taxes which had been planned.

Labour has argued the €1bn benefits of the promissory note deal could be used to ease up on austerity - and claim the full €3.1bn isn't needed to reach our deficit targets.

However, others like the Central Bank and the Fiscal Advisory Council have warned against this, and Mr Kenny has seemingly now placed himself at odds with Mr Gilmore.

He said a "failure to follow through on all the hard work and sacrifices of the Irish people now, so close to the bailout exit, jeopardises everything we have all worked for".

And he added that "any short-term relief from backing off from our deficit reduction plans would be far outweighed by the impact on jobs and growth, and on interest rates, caused by the loss of confidence and capital flight that would arise should Ireland stray from the path agreed".

Mr Kenny said this cannot be allowed to happen, and said the "people of Ireland would not forgive us for faltering at the last fence".

He added: "90pc of the fiscal consolidation is now complete, I want to finish the job, and finish it as quickly as possible so families everywhere can begin to plan for the future with confidence" and said the Government is now taking the "last steps".

And he said any flexibility the Government has in the Budget should be used for investment and job creation rather than easing up on cuts in areas like welfare, as suggested by Social Protection Minister Joan Burton.

"More investment in schools, primary care,economic infrastructure, transport and tourism projects is what will help get people back to work," he said.

"The best way to support our local economies is through the creation of jobs."

But he tempered this by saying the Coalition must fix the public finances.

 "The public have entrusted us with the national finances and expect us to do our duty no matter how difficult it may be," Mr Kenny said.

"Every minister will have difficult decisions to make to deliver on the savings they have promised."

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