Senior civil servant urged Haughey’s government to drop ‘highly optimistic’ projections

Seán Cromien said tax claims in Fianna Fáil’s ‘The Way Forward’ plan were wrong, 1983 State papers show

‘The Way Forward’ was widely regarded as a belated recognition of the scale of the economic crisis by Charles Haughey’s Fianna Fáil government of 1982

‘The Way Forward’ was widely regarded as a belated recognition of the scale of the economic crisis by Charles Haughey’s Fianna Fáil government of 1982

Fri, Dec 27, 2013, 01:00

One of the country’s top civil servants warned Charles Haughey’s government to drop overly optimistic claims from the draft of its major economic strategy document The Way Forward, published in autumn 1982.

It was widely regarded as a belated recognition of the scale of the economic crisis by the stricken Fianna Fáil government of 1982.

However, senior Department of Finance official Seán Cromien in a letter to the secretary of the Taoiseach’s Department, Pádraig Ó hUiginn, sent on October 11th, raised concerns about the document that had been drafted in September.

“The output, employment and tax yields assumed in the plan’s scenario are
highly optimistic. The reality is likely to call for some increases in taxation,” said the letter in reference to a claim in the plan that an increase in tax would not be necessary.

Mr Cromien suggested taking out the reference “to avert embarrassment at budget time when increased taxation is expected to be necessary”.

He also queried the plan’s forecast that the public capital programme would show a volume reduction of 3 per cent when in fact the reduction would be much greater.

This would “unnecessarily invite criticism”, he said.