Sunday 19 November 2017

John Downing: Could something for everyone add up to nothing for anyone?

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin is unlikely to call for a new election if Fine Gael changes leader. Photo: Tom Burke
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin is unlikely to call for a new election if Fine Gael changes leader. Photo: Tom Burke
John Downing

John Downing

I once knew a publican in Kerry who was so keen to avoid giving offence that he never said anything beyond a collection of words. The local wags parodied his limp conversational contributions on matters meteorological as: "Yes, there's a lot of weather out there today."

That reminiscence fits Budget 2017 perfectly. It's hard to find too much fault with it - but, then again, you would struggle to find too much very beneficial.

Yes, it is a prince if you run the rule over Michael Noonan's first three Budgets, delivered in late 2011, 2012 and 2013. Those were about extracting billions from the economy in cuts and tax hikes with a certain added element of "live horse and you'll get grass".

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