Enda Kenny says Fiscal Advisory Council’s warnings are ‘valuable’

Taoiseach reacting to group’s concerns over spring economic statement

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has described the warnings from Irish Fiscal Advisory Council about the Government's budget planning as "a valuable set of observations".

Mr Kenny was reacting to the fiscal council's questioning of key strands of the Coalition's recently-published spring economic statement.

“I value its independence and we value the judgement and the report that it introduces. Obviously the spring statement set out the parameters of the budget for 2016,” Mr Kenny said.

“Our priority has been to get our public finances back under control to reduce our debt, to reduce our deficit, to eliminate it in due course.


“And the input of the fiscal council will be an important element of the consideration that the government will have to make now over the months as we prepare for Budget 2016.”

Prudent policy

Mr Kenny was speaking in Dublin on Thursday afternoon, after the fiscal council said on Wednesday that breaches of EU budget guidelines raised questions as to whether future policy would be conducted on a prudent basis.

“So it’s a valuable set of observations, but for Government we have a responsibility to manage our affairs effectively, continue to be an attractive location for investment and job creation,” Mr Kenny said.

“And also to be able to say to people that because of the sacrifices that they have made over the last number of years that where flexibility can be shown it will be given back to people within what is available to government.”

Mr Kenny said it was important to recognise that credit should go to the people who had made sacrifices. He was speaking after the announcement of the Aer Lingus College Football Classic between Boston College and Georgia Tech on September 3rd.

The fiscal council, which has statutory powers to monitor budget policy, warned of serious flaws in formal submissions to Brussels which accompanied the spring statement.

"There are real questions about the credibility of projections for Government spending," said Prof John McHale, the NUI Galway economist who chairs the fiscal council.

Mary Minihan

Mary Minihan

Mary Minihan is Features Editor of The Irish Times