Ireland benefits by over €40bn from EU, says Frances Fitzgerald

Fianna Fáil TD Robert Troy says Ireland’s 26.3% growth rate made a mockery of State

Ireland has been a net beneficiary in the order of over €40 billion from the European Union over its 40 years of membership, Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald has told the Dáil.

“There is ongoing economic growth and we have improvement in the taxes coming in,’’ she said.

Ms Fitzgerald was replying to Fianna Fáil TD Robert Troy who said Ireland's 26.3 per cent growth rate had made a mockery of the Republic. Many people had not felt the benefit of any economic recovery, he added.

He said the State now had a €280 million obligation on the back of a report which bore no relation to Ireland’s economic growth.


"Public services are stretched beyond all limits, and the country still has 2,100 children and their families without a home and staying in hostels,'' Mr Troy added. "Our home help hours right across the country are being slashed and people with disability cannot get access to personal assistance.''

Mr Troy said it was mind-boggling the report had been published.

"It was compared to the works of James Joyce and Flann O'Brien in the Financial Times,'' he added.

Ms Fitzgerald said the figure had been published by the Central Statistics Office which was an independent agency and it had already made comments about the figure and the processes it intended to examine. There were exceptional factors which showed the difficulty in interpreting Irish macroeconomic data.

“And there is further work to be done on the interpretation of those figures,’’ she added. The Government would not make economic policy on that basis and would use the more normal growth rates of 3.5 per cent to 4 per cent, she said.

Mr Troy said he wanted to know what impact the €280 million obligation was going to have on the services for the people they represented in the Dáil.

Ms Fitzgerald said it would not have any impact. The economy was growing because right decisions were made, and there was further investment in areas like the health services, she added.

Michael O'Regan

Michael O'Regan

Michael O’Regan is a former parliamentary correspondent of The Irish Times