Government to publish four-year budgetary plan 'early next week'
THE Government is expected to publish its four-year budgetary plan for €15bn of cutbacks "early next week".
It is likely that the plan will now be published before voters go to the polls for the Donegal South West by-election next Thursday -- which could further harm the chances of Fianna Fail's candidate, Senator Brian O'Domhnaill.
But the Government is anxious to publish the plan quickly to reassure the financial markets of its intentions to reduce the €19bn deficit in the public finances through spending cuts and tax increases by 2014. It has also agreed the measure with the EU, which has been consulted regularly about the contents of the plan.
The plan is expected to contain details of a property tax, water charges and reductions in the budgets for public services, such as health and education.
Health Minister Mary Harney said yesterday the four-year plan was "almost finalised". She said the cabinet spent eight hours yesterday working on the plan.
Although the growth forecasts have not been published, the Department of Finance said last night it was still working on the estimates published earlier this week of 1.75pc growth in gross domestic product next year; 3.25pc in 2012; 3pc in 2013; and 2.75pc in 2014.
At the opening of Terminal Two in Dublin Airport yesterday, Taoiseach Brian Cowen said:
"The Irish Government will put forward a four-year plan on behalf of the Irish people because it will be the Irish people through our efforts, in the coming months and years, who will see us through these days," he said