Donohoe tells HSE: manage your budget as there is no extra cash

HSE faces a €300 million deficit but Minister says no extra funding will be made available

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said health services in Ireland ‘have never had more resources available to them as they do now. Photograph: Collins

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said health services in Ireland ‘have never had more resources available to them as they do now. Photograph: Collins

 

The HSE must manage its own budgets because it will get no extra cash from the exchequer to pay for overspending in the health service, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe warned on Tuesday.

The projected €300 million deficit in the health service budget this year must be “managed and dealt with” from within existing resources, Mr Donohoe said, and he ruled out a supplementary estimate for the Department of Health.

“My message to the HSE is very clear,” he said.

Mr Donohoe said the annual health budget was now €14.1 billion, €1 billion more than when he became Minister a year and a half ago.

“I expect the HSE service action plan to be delivered,” he said.

“The health services in our country have never had more resources available to them as they do now,” Mr Donohoe said, and we expect a commensurate level of services coming out of that.”

Mr Donohoe also confirmed he had approved the pension arrangements of the former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan

“I was made aware at the very end of last week that official discussions had been happening in the Department of Justice in relation to her potential retirement. I became aware that she had retired on Sunday . . . and as part of that happening I became aware of and agreed to the proposal in relation to her pension,” he said

He said the decision to afford the Commissioner pension credits for the period she was acting Commissioner of the gardaí was entirely in accordance with practice for public service managers.

Mr Donohoe was speaking at the launch of a review of Ireland’s corporation tax by economist Seamus Coffey.

Asked about his plans for tax cuts in the Budget, Mr Donohoe said Ireland had gone through a period of “shock and awe” in personal taxation in the past - “awe about a tax cut in a particular year that led to a massive cut in people’s take home pay, shock when a few years later that tax cut was undone.”

He said the Government would employ a “steady approach of change” which only introduced tax cuts he was sure could be sustainable in the years ahead

He said his priorities for tax reductions were “the self-employed, and recognising the contribution they make to our country . . . over a number of budgets amalgamating PRSI and USC . . . and then in relation to personal taxation the standard rate cut off point and levels of USC for people on low and middle are areas that we have to make steady progress in”.