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Taoiseach Micheál Martin rules out an early budget as costs soar

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Taoiseach Micheál Martin greets French president Emmanuel Macron at the EU leaders’ summit in Brussels. Photo: AFP

Taoiseach Micheál Martin greets French president Emmanuel Macron at the EU leaders’ summit in Brussels. Photo: AFP

Taoiseach Micheál Martin greets French president Emmanuel Macron at the EU leaders’ summit in Brussels. Photo: AFP

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has warned that Ireland “cannot return to the 1970s and 1980s” era of low growth and high inflation.

He also repeated there will be no cost of living measures before the October budget.

Mr Martin was speaking on the margins of an EU leaders’ summit in Brussels, which will have a difficult debate today on the interlinked problems of spiralling energy costs and general inflation heading toward double digits.

He noted the ESRI economic report yesterday, which warned that Irish inflation was now running ahead of real income growth – recalling the phenomenon of so-called “stagflation” in the 1970s and 1980s.

The Taoiseach was asked about repeated hints by Tánaiste Leo Varadkar that Irish income aids for people could happen before October. However, he insisted the budget was the best vehicle to deal with all Ireland’s economic challenges.

“The optimal moment for us is the budget, and it’s not just to deal with the cost of living – we will have to deal with the cost of living in terms of reducing pressures on people – but also to do it in a way that is in line with the ESRI report and other reports, to do it in combination with other factors, around pay and tax,” Mr Martin said.

“To do it in a comprehensive way that sustains us right through the winter because the winter will be difficult, particularly on the energy front. We’ve got to think about this, and do a lot of work on this to make sure the measures we take don’t add fuel to the fire.

“We can create a sustainable pathway, using the resources and the funding that gives us a ‘longer’ short-to-medium-term impact on things like childcare, education, health- care and public transport.

“Those are the type of areas where we have to dig deeper, take advice and do what I think in the context of the Budget.”

When pressed specifically if this means there will definitely be no moves before the budget, the Taoiseach said: “We don’t see that happening, no.”

Mr Martin also said the EU leaders’ decision to give Ukraine “membership candidate status” can be transformative for that country in spite of the ongoing war with Russia.

He said Ireland can never oppose another country seeking European Union membership.

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The Taoiseach added that Ireland’s move to join the European Union 50 years ago was the “most transformative development in modern Irish history”.


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