Fiscal Council

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When things are going well and prices are rising, we become giddy and optimistic. Such optimism is contagious. This is what economists call consumer confidence. Photograph: Alan Betson

One of the most essential, but least well-understood aspects of macroeconomics is that economics is counterintuitive. This is because macroeconomics, (...)

Among younger women, while our participation rates for female graduates are higher than those of our EU neighbours, for women with Leaving Cert education they are significantly lower.

There are many signs that the Irish economy is growing close to its potential output. In particular, the stress in the housing market, with rapidly ri(...)

Apartment supply is the main concern when it comes to building costs, with house building seen as satisfactory by sources. Photograph: Neil Hall/Reuters

It is not financially viable for builders to construct “affordable apartments” with sales prices of between €240,000 and €320,000, a Government report(...)

Housing output has been below the equilibrium level of about 30,000 units for a number of years. Housing output needs to rise. Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

The Irish economy is currently experiencing a fall in unemployment not seen since the late 1990s. There are obviously many factors that are different (...)

Paschal Donohoe: many of the economic choices facing the State will fall to him. Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

The MacGill Summer School, held annually in Glenties, Co Donegal, and which has been taking place all this week, is easy to parody. Official Ireland t(...)

Prof McHale expressed deep reservations about Budget 2016 on Wednesday.

The chairman of the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council Prof John McHale said on Thursday he stands over a warning he issued over the level of overall spend(...)

 Trying to spin it both ways

Reading many of the pre-budget headlines in recent weeks I was reminded of an exchange I had with a member of the audience at the MacGill summer schoo(...)

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan before announcing this year’s budget at Government Buildings last October. The momentum in the Irish economy means that fairly rapid growth is likely to continue into 2016, a key factor in assessing what the budgetary strategy should be for next year. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Between the mid-1970s and 2007 the budget for the coming year was presented to the Dáil in December, immediately before the new financial year started(...)

Greek riot police officers stand guard on the steps in front of the Parliament building during an anti-austerity demonstration in Athens, Greece, July 12th, 2015. Euro zone leaders told near-bankrupt Greece at an emergency summit on Sunday that it must restore trust by enacting key reforms before they will open talks on a new financial rescue to keep it in the European currency area. Photograph: Jean-Paul Pelissier/Reuters

Euro zone leaders at a summit in Brussels were reviewing a draft proposal from their finance ministers on Sunday that sets out conditions for Greece t(...)

 Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis: ‘Regrettably, my presentation was met with deafening silence. Excepting Michael Noonan’s apt remark, all other interventions ignored our proposals.’ Above, Varoufakis and     Noonan at the start of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) Board of Governors, ahead of the Eurogroup Meeting of Finance ministers in Luxembourg on Thursday. Photograph: EPA/JULIEN WARNAND

Last Thursday’s eurogroup meeting went down in history as a lost opportunity to produce an already belated agreement between Greece and its creditors.(...)

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