Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Tuesday, 11 June 2019
Committee on Budgetary Oversight
Local Property Tax Review: Discussion
In the context of the Deputy's point on the short and medium-term effects of Brexit on the national finances, I published an estimate of that earlier in the year and indicated that the effect would be significant. I also indicated that it would mean that the surpluses we have begun to run - and which would have run at a higher pace in the future - would be affected considerably and that the national finances would move back into deficit. I will outline our views on what this will mean in the context of our ability to make choices in the future because I want everybody to be aware of that. As to how we would then need to think about parts of the economy that require support, the position regarding Brexit is changing and we need to be aware of that in the context of what it might mean for us later in the year as the various debates in the British political system take place. If we get into a hard-Brexit scenario, it will mean that the Government will need to put in place supports for different parts of the economy and then pay for these.
On the Deputy's question about the national broadband plan, it would not be appropriate for me to comment on that because I am only at the point where I will be outlining resources that may or may not be available. I will say two things to the Deputy that will be up for debate throughout the year: first, if we do get into a hard-Brexit scenario, the parts of our country that could be most affected are also those that would rely most on broadband connectivity in the future; and, second, for those who believe that there is a cheaper or different way to do this, they will have to outline what that is at some point because I went through that process for the best part of a year in terms of trying to identify such a way. At this stage, all we are doing is beginning to identify what would be the different resource consequences of what we would need to deal with within a hard Brexit.