Ross says IMF shocked at new cuts

Wed, Dec 19, 2012, 00:00

Services cannot be cut beyond a certain point, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said.

He said nobody wished to stand in the Dáil and say that further adjustments should be made and result in cutbacks in services. “That is why the Croke Park agreement must be implemented in full and in an accelerated fashion.”

The Taoiseach was responding to Independent TD Shane Ross, who said the IMF had urged the Government not to impose austerity cuts in future budgets because growth figures were so dismal. “Is it not strange that these high priests of austerity and extraordinarily disciplined lenders are standing back in shock at the fact that the Irish Government is continuing to pursue cuts which they say will be damaging to the economy?

“Is it not strange, even unique, that the lenders in this situation should be less enthusiastic about the repayments and the austerity being imposed on the Irish people than the Government?”

Mr Ross asked Mr Kenny if he was prepared to give a commitment to the House that in the next budget he would at least consider not proceeding with the severe cuts predicted by the Government for future years.

Economic circumstances

Mr Kenny said the IMF had been largely supportive of the Government’s efforts in achieving an improvement in the public finances and a general improvement in the State’s economic circumstances. “The budget for 2013 has been put through the House. While it is challenging for many people, we would expect that the effort in it to focus on business, job opportunities and the creation of jobs through further investment will grow our economy for the third consecutive year.”

Mr Kenny said the IMF had also made the point that a commitment given to Ireland by its European colleagues must be followed through. “That is an important element of hope for our people.”

Mr Ross said Europe was failing to meet its obligations to Ireland – what the IMF was implicitly saying.