Monday 20 November 2017

Noonan rebukes rebels and insists targets will be met

Fiach Kelly and Michael Brennan

FINANCE Minister Michael Noonan took a sideswipe at the rebel group of eight Fine Gael TDs who challenged the Government's policy on the Croke Park Agreement.

On the day Mr Noonan promised the overall spending targets for this year will be met, despite the overruns in the health and social welfare budgets, he chided the eight dissidents.

Sean Conlan, Paul Connaughton, Pat Deering, Brendan Griffin, Noel Harrington, Sean Kyne, Anthony Lawlor and Eoghan Murphy criticised public sector allowances and increments in a newspaper article last week.

During a Budget discussion at the Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting last night, Mr Noonan said he would listen to proposals from party TDs and senators but wanted to hear them at parliamentary party meetings rather than reading them in a newspaper.

He earlier admitted spending in the Department of Health and the Department of Social Protection was a cause of concern but was being addressed, and the overall target of keeping spending below €55.9bn this year would still be met.

During the Dail debate on the economy, the opposition called on Mr Noonan to clarify when the period of tax increases and Budget cuts would come to an end.

Mr Noonan said the Government was acutely aware that the biggest economic problem was the 14.8pc unemployment rate, "which is far too high".

Irish Independent

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