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'No giveaways' in Budget will protect us from shocks: Kenny

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Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Washington yesterday. Photo: Marty Katz

Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Washington yesterday. Photo: Marty Katz

Marty Katz/washingtonphotographe

Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Washington yesterday. Photo: Marty Katz

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has warned there will be "no giveaways" in the October Budget, which would instead include "buffers" aimed at protecting the economy from "unexpected shocks".

Mr Kenny said any further tax cuts would be introduced in a "slow and measured" fashion, adding that the Government did not have the capacity to engage in a spending spree.

The remarks came as Tánaiste Joan Burton last night called on the European Commission to loosen the rules that restrict Ireland's budget spending capacity.

Asked specifically about Ms Burton's comments, the Taoiseach warned that the country must prepare for "unexpected shocks outside of our control".

It's understood he was referring to the prospect of a British exit from the EU, which will be decided by way of a referendum.

Speaking to reporters following a US Chamber of Commerce event in Washington DC, Mr Kenny said the parameters of the Government's approach to the economy would be outlined in the spring statement next month.

"So let me be clear, the Budget in October is not going to be one where there's a whole series of giveaways," Mr Kenny said.

"We don't have the capacity to do that. It will be slow and measured in terms of the progress we've made, with a very clear understanding that we are not going back to the days of what caused the problem, boom and bust politics," he added.

On two occasions, Mr Kenny suggested that the Budget would also include specific measures aimed at addressing international factors that could have an adverse impact on our economy. "And what we want to do for the future is eliminate our deficit, continue to provide employment opportunities for people, continue to have strong investment confidence in the country, and build up reserves [so that] in the event of any shocks occurring, we can deal with those."

Mr Kenny issued the warning as it emerged 250 jobs are being created in his home town of Castlebar, Co Mayo. The jobs, which will be introduced over three years, are being introduced by a Global Sustainability Initiative.

Meanwhile, Mr Kenny said he intended to raise the issues of immigration and the undocumented Irish during his talks with US president Barack Obama today.

But on the issue of immigration reform, Mr Kenny said he did not believe the Government needed to adopt a more aggressive approach.

"I don't agree that having a more aggressive stance would bring results any faster. We're not in a position to dictate to the American administration what to do here," he said.

"We are in a position to negotiate with them in respect of the 50,000 that we know are undocumented here in the States from Ireland."

Also speaking during his visit to the US, Mr Kenny welcomed reports that Ryanair was to open direct routes stateside.

Irish Independent