Thursday, 5 March 2020
Department of Finance
107. To ask the Minister for Finance the extent to which he remains satisfied that the economy continues to perform satisfactorily notwithstanding global or regional pressures; the extent of corrective measures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3822/20]
Growth in the first three quarters of 2019 remained strong, with GDP up 5.9 percent in year-on-year terms over that period, with the full year estimates due for release by the CSO very shortly. Of course, in recent years, GDP has become distorted by the activities of a small number of large multinational firms that often reflect a number of exceptional factors which have limited impact on actual activity in the domestic economy. However a range of domestic measures, such as modified domestic demand and household consumption, have also been growing robustly. Indeed, the best barometer of how well our economy is performing is the labour market where we currently have record employment levels.
Looking forward, economic growth is expected to continue but at a more moderate pace. However there are a number of downside risks to this outlook, perhaps the most pressing at the current moment, is the potential economic implications of the outbreak and spread of the coronavirus. Furthermore there is ongoing uncertainty surrounding the precise nature of the future trading relationship between the EU and the UK. Any further disruption to trade or a further slowdown in global growth would have a disproportionate impact on the Irish economy.
The best way we can mitigate against these risks is through prudent budgetary policy, careful management of the public finances and by focusing on competitiveness-oriented policies. Running budgetary surpluses in good times is the best way of reducing risk our economy and our public finances from the shocks that are likely.