Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Committee on Budgetary Oversight

Pre-Budget 2022 Scrutiny: Irish Fiscal Advisory Council

Mr. Sebastian Barnes:

That is a very good and extremely difficult question. I do not think we have a solid analysis of which we think exactly that risk is. However, they are all significant risks. It is hard to say which one it is, although it could be something else. Three years ago, we would not have dreamt that the pandemic would hit us all with the consequences we have seen. There is a risk associated with corporation tax. There are clearly important changes afoot internationally and those may impact Ireland. Ireland is also very reliant on a small number of companies for corporation tax.

Inflation, if the economy runs a bit hot, and internationally is a very major question. The general consensus seems to be that many of the effects will be temporary. However, the truth is that we do not know if this could trigger something bigger.

The risk to the state of the public finances, as we said, it is not alarming, but it adds to the mix.

Of course, we know from Irish economic history that we must be cautious about what might happen in the future. Our recovery scenario is one where the economy, by relative standards, continues to do very well. That may not happen and we cannot be confident about that. There are many risks. That, for us, argues for relatively prudent management or fiscal policy.


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