Saturday 20 January 2018

Public don't believe €15bn cuts will be made by 2014


THE Irish people are deeply sceptical the Government can meet its self-proclaimed target of €15bn in cuts by 2014 and most of the electorate say the deadline should be extended.

But according to a Sunday Independent/ Quantum Research telephone poll, a majority of 72 per cent are convinced that the forthcoming Budget will be passed by the Dail.

A significant majority of 61 per cent of those polled now think the Opposition should support the Government on the Budget, believing it is the best way to deal with the recession.

Some referred to the importance of sending out the right signals to the international community and prove we are capable of facing our problems head on.

But a majority -- 55 per cent -- also believe a general election is inevitable in the next three months.

There is also a lack of faith in official Government financial forecasts, with a large majority of 66 per cent saying they do not believe the Department of Finance prediction that there will be growth next year. Most people believe the scale of cuts envisaged by the Government in the next four years will be impossible to implement.

Asked: "Do you believe Ireland will achieve budgetary savings of €15bn by the Government's deadline of 2014? 72 per cent said 'no' and 28 per cent said 'yes'.

A recurring theme among respondents was scepticism the country could achieve these cuts when the tax take was decreasing and unemployment was rising.

"How can we pay back that much? The country is broke and the people will not stand for it," was one comment.

Among the 28 per cent who say the target can be reached, some argued we had no choice and we must accept the reality of our financial situation.

In response to a further question, a large majority of those polled -- 68 per cent -- believed that the deadline should be extended. There were two main reasons cited by voters. Many thought that the date set was far too restrictive. Others concurred with the view of the opposition parties -- particularly Labour -- that the treatment would kill the patient.

In the responses to this question there was also evidence of increasing anger towards Europe and the institutions of the EU.

"How dare the Germans tell us what to do? This is all Germany's fault -- when they were in recession during our boom they and the ECB lowered interest rates at a time when Ireland needed to increase them to cool the economy. We are now paying for Germany's problems," was one respondent's opinion.

Although a significant majority of respondents wanted an extension of the deadline, only 46 per cent thought the EU would actually approve one. A majority of 54 per cent believed that the EU was willing to sacrifice Irish prosperity and, in order to keep the markets happy, would not allow any change on the 2014 deadline.

In another question, 66 per cent of those polled do not believe the Government's prediction that there would be growth next year.

This distrust was a common thread throughout the poll, with many people saying they simply did not believe the figures outlined by the Government across a wide range of issues.

Some respondents referred to the bank bail-out costs and the number of times the figures have been revised.

Despite this level of trust and scepticism, 72 per cent believe the Government will get the Budget passed in the Dail this December.

Most respondents to the poll appeared to accept that cuts are necessary, as are hikes in taxation.

Some of the respondents referred to their belief that the Government would have no choice but to pass the Budget, given the position of the EU on the matter.

"We have no alternative, if they don't pass it we are going to be a laughing stock all over the world," was a comment from a male respondent.

In all, 28 per cent of those polled thought the Budget would not be passed because Government backbenchers would withdraw support as a result of the intense pressure that will be exerted on them by constituents who are hit worst by cutbacks.

Sunday Independent

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