Framing Budget 2016 - people love to be bought with their own money


Framing Budget 2016 - people love to be bought with their own money

Framing Budget 2016 - people love to be bought with their own money

The Cabinet are pictured after the reshuffle this year | Photocall file photo


Finance Minister, Michael Noonan opened his first Budget speech in December 2011 with a cutting attack on the previous government, drawing on Republican rhetoric and accusing Fianna Fail and The Green Party's Government of signing away the fiscal autonomy which Ireland had fought so hard to win from Britain in 1921.

"The people of Ireland have paid a very high price for this mismanagement of the economy. Personal wealth has been destroyed, thousands of people are sinking into poverty, emigration has returned and unemployment is far too high," he said.

He continued, "the task of this Government is to regain control over Ireland’s fiscal and economic policies, to grow the economy again and to get people back to work."


Throughout the life of this government its narrative has moved away from 'steadying the ship' - to securing our position as Europe's 'best-in-class.'

By Budget 2015 the Minister was ready to declare that the government had already lived up to most of it promises: 

"We exited the bailout. The public finances are under control. The Irish economy is growing at the fastest rate among developed economies. The rate of jobs creation in Ireland is one of the fastest in Europe.

"We are ahead of our planned fiscal targets and we have managed to achieve this progress with less tax increases and fewer expenditure cuts than envisaged in 2011. We have succeeded in key negotiations over our EU and IMF loans and on the promissory notes."

But Mr Noonan conceded that the recovery was clearly well underway - he knew that not everyone had felt the benefits of the economic upturn:

"The recovery has not spread across the country yet and many families have yet to experience it. The Government is fully aware of this fact. For many people, the recovery will only come when they get a job. For some, the recovery will only come when they see more money in their pockets.

"For many families, the permanent return of a loved one who has emigrated will mark the end of the crisis and the start of the recovery."


With better than expected exchequer returns, and stronger than expected growth, the Government has its war chest ready to fight the General Election - and it's not afraid to spend it.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Shane Coleman, Newstalk's Political Editor reflected on Fine Gael's decision to empty the national kitty. As part of his speech last year the Minister quoted poet Robert Frost, saying that the days of boom-policies are over, and that this Government is prepared to take "the road less travelled."

Shane Coleman says that the Government has not lived up to that promise:

"They are not taking the road less travelled - they are taking exactly the road travelled by Charlie McCreevy. The government keep name-checking McCreevy, saying we're not going back to the days of 'if I have it I spend it' - they're not, because they actually don't have this money that they're spending" - they're borrowing it.

He added that the spending is likely to run closer to €3bn than €1.5bn, as we spend before new EU rules which will limit future spending come into action:

"Maybe, technically that does not breech the EU rules - but it damn sure breaks the spirit of those rules. This is an old fashioned General Election giveaway budget, of the type that we were told we would never see again."

When asked by Newstalk Breakfast presenter Ivan Yates if this will work if it is a bid to buy votes, he admitted that it "probably will," saying that it is very likely that the Government parties will see an immediate bounce in the next set of opinion polls.

As Mr Yates put it in a recent post for, "people love to be bought with their own money." 

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