Burton indicates EMC should be opened up

Labour leadership candidate says higher spending departments should have greater say

Minister for Social Protection and Labour leadership candidate Joan Burton has indicated that higher spending Government departments should have a greater say in the Coaliton's elite economic committee.

Ms Burton has previously criticised the Economic Management Council - the four member committee comprising the Taoiseach, Tánaiste, Minister for Finance and Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform - for excluding other ministers and departments.

She has repeatedly criticised the EMC over the past two years as secretive and said it missed the “big picture” on the economy.

The Dublin West TD was asked today what she would do to the EMC if she wins the Labour leadership, which will give her a position on the committee as Tánaiste.

However, speaking at a Diageo event to support community employment in the areas of Dublin around the Guinness brewery, Ms Burton said she didn't want to be "presumptuous" about the leadership contest but said she has "views about the EMC".

“I do think that the big spending departments such as health and education and indeed my own department in social protection, that they’re critical to having an evaluation process that does get the best outcomes for everybody in this country and to me, that’s what the EMC has to be about,” Ms Burton said.

“How do you make something like the EMC work better for people in terms of managing the country’s finances which, although we are now in a better place are still very challenging and about directing money to the places it most needed.

“It’s about a very sharp focus on the country’s finances but it also includes that question of the big departments and what their contribution is and should be to the economic recovery.”