Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Committee on Budgetary Oversight

Fiscal Assessment Report: Irish Fiscal Advisory Council

Mr. Seamus Coffey:

The issue over the last couple of years is that spending has accelerated beyond the sustainable rates that we have set. If one were to make an immediate adjustment it would, in our estimate, reduce by €2 billion to €6 billion from the budget as the Government has laid out. We are not recommending that has to be done. We are simply pointing out, as is the Department of Finance, perhaps in more explicit terms than we have, that it is a potential risk, that a hole could open up in the public finances. How would we fill that hole? Initially, one would look to borrow the money but we already have a €200 billion debt and the benign financial conditions we find at present might not persist for very long. On the impact of our proposals, it is about putting spending on a sustainable path, having it available all the time, not just when windfall revenues pour in.


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