Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Wednesday, 22 September 2021
Committee on Budgetary Oversight
Pre-Budget 2022 Scrutiny: Irish Fiscal Advisory Council
Mr. Sebastian Barnes:
One way of answering that question is that we were much more comfortable with the plan the SPU had. The plan was to achieve budget balance by 2025. That would have led to the debt ratio falling fairly steadily by the end of the forecast period and would have put us on a trajectory such that when we next meet a downturn - and we know these things tend to happen every eight to ten years - then public debt would be at a substantially lower level. That is the kind of programme we were much more comfortable with. That said, there are choices to be made around that and there is no exact science as to whether that path is the perfect one. However, that path was definitely less risky and would have been a much more prudent path for the public finances and for sustaining the economy and the finances in the years ahead.