Monday 11 December 2017

All the Government's promises are based on factors outside its control

The new Programme for Government is basically a statement of aspirations, writes Colm McCarthy

MATTER OF FACT: Writer Brendan Behan once defined an ‘Irish fact’ as anything that has been repeated three times in public — such as the oft-repeated lament that the recent economic recovery has been confined to the Dublin area.
MATTER OF FACT: Writer Brendan Behan once defined an ‘Irish fact’ as anything that has been repeated three times in public — such as the oft-repeated lament that the recent economic recovery has been confined to the Dublin area.
Colm McCarthy

Colm McCarthy

The formation of the new Government has avoided, according to Friday's Red C poll, a second general election which would have produced another hung Dail and little change from February's result. There would have been some form of minority government anyway.

The 160-page Programme for Government released on Thursday will prove less reliable, as a guide to future policy, than its predecessors. Previous programmes were agreed by incoming coalition governments possessed of a Dail majority and thus able to pass the required measures. This Government's programme is more a statement of aspirations for which parliamentary support may not be forthcoming. Paradoxically, it is much longer than the 2011 plan, a model of brevity at just 64 pages. The 2016 version has a Late Late Show flavour, with goodie-bags for innumerable lobby groups and interests, and a relaxed approach to the financial capacity of the State to sustain extra commitments on spending and tax cuts.

The extra spending will add €6.75bn per annum by 2021, with about half that figure again for the additional cost of tax reductions. Whether the total €10bn per annum becomes available over the next five years depends largely on the buoyancy of government revenue: only if the economy continues to expand at a decent rate will the numbers add up. The programme is in effect a plan to distribute resources whose availability is not guaranteed.

Please sign in or register with Independent.ie for free access to Opinions.

Sign In

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Don't Miss