Friday 23 March 2018

Fine Gael must raise its game

THE second instalment of the Millward Brown Lansdowne opinion poll, which we publish today, shows Michael Noonan to be the country's most respected spokesperson on finance, leading Labour's Joan Burton by a margin of two to one. That makes his and his party's performance at yesterday's press conference all the more alarming, even dismaying.

Fine Gael and Labour, the parties likely to form the next government, are divided on the means to bring the public finances into order under the four-year fiscal plan. Fine Gael wants public spending cuts preferred over tax rises in a proportion of three to one. Labour wants a proportion of two to one.

The overwhelming majority of experts have no doubt which they would prefer. There is no surer way of stopping any prospect of economic recovery in its tracks than imposing excessive tax increases.

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