Noonan attacks Lenihan 'stroke'


Fine Gael finance spokesman Michael Noonan has said Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan's postponement of a further €10 billion into the banks until after the election was a "political stroke".

Speaking at the launch of Fine Gael's fiscal policy, Mr Noonan said he believed Mr Lenihan was misleading people. He said he did not think the decision had been approved by Cabinet, the ECB or the IMF. "This was motivated by the desire to have a political stroke," he said.

Mr Noonan also accused Labour of "becoming a seriously high tax party".

Meanwhile, Fine Gael said it was targeting 73 per cent of the deficit reduction through savings in spending and 27 per cent on new taxation measures.

Party leader Enda Kenny said that it believed that by 2014 this would bring Ireland's deficit to 2.8 per cent of GDP.

Mr Lenihan this afternoon hit out at Fine Gael's fiscal policy, arguing that it is designed to help them campaign on all sides of every issue”.

“Their only consistent fiscal policy is opportunism. Put simply, Fine Gael are trying to have it every way,” he said.

“Having lined up in the Dáil every day to attack the spending adjustments, which I implemented, today they have produced a document which accuses me of not having cut enough. This is not consistent nor is it honest.”

Mr Lenihan said Fine Gael is proposing over €1.2 billion extra in income tax revenue, while at the same time claiming to be against income tax increases. “What sort of confused thinking is that?”