Gov policy cupboard bare as growth forecast slashed

Minister McCreevy is as short of ideas as the exchequer is of cash, Labour Finance Spokesperson, Joan Burton has said.

Reacting to the publication of the Department of Finance Economic Review and Outlook, Deputy Burton pointed to the remarkably brief and limited comments from the Minister.

“It is clear that Mr McCreevy has simply no ideas for addressing the decline in the Irish economy. Despite cutting the growth forecast for this year by a quarter, the Minister has no prescription to offer for the ills of the Irish economy. It is clear that all he has to offer is yet more cuts in the December budget.’

“Typically, Minister McCreevy is blaming anyone but himself for the slowdown in the economy. Having taken credit for the good times, he is now intent on passing the buck for problems which are of his own making. He blames the international recession, and demands that others improve their competitiveness. But he says nothing of his own role in overheating the economy at the cost of thousands of jobs. His pre-election splurge, and his inflationary policies are directly responsible for the loss of competitiveness, which Ireland is now enduring.

“Meanwhile, the Government has failed to deliver the infrastructure, which can form the basis for future jobs and non-inflationary growth. The Minister demands that others get their house in order, when his own record is abysmal.

“The Department of Finance forecasts are a cause for considerable concern. Exports are projected to fall by 2% this year, having risen on average by more than 15% during the boom. Crucially, investment in Ireland is likely to fall this year, reflecting the low level of confidence in our economy. The continuing weakness of the indigenous sector, particularly in the face of an appreciating Euro, is also disturbing. Revenue shortfalls will once again make for difficult budgetary arithmetic.

“Mr McCreevy is now in his seventh year as Minister for Finance. Yet he is completely bereft of ideas for tackling the problems in the Irish economy. He seeks to blame others, yet has nothing positive to offer himself. All we have to look forward to is yet more cuts in the forthcoming budget. But bluster and cuts are no substitute for sound economic management.”