Minimum of €3bn Budget cuts being sought

Tuesday 28 September 2010 12.17
1 of 4
Brian Lenihan - May cut more than €3bn from the economy
Brian Lenihan - May cut more than €3bn from the economy
Brian Cowen - Banking policy will proceed on basis set out last March
Brian Cowen - Banking policy will proceed on basis set out last March
Fianna Fáil - Party to discuss job creation and the economy
Fianna Fáil - Party to discuss job creation and the economy
Galway - Strong garda presence for Fianna Fáil gathering
Galway - Strong garda presence for Fianna Fáil gathering

Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan has suggested that December's Budget may cut more than €3bn from the economy.

Speaking as he arrived for the Fianna Fáil Parliamentary Party meeting in Galway, Mr Lenihan described the indicative figure as a minimum.

With the cost of Ireland's sovereign borrowing remaining high, there have been suggestions the figure of €3bn in Budget cuts might not be enough.

Today Mr Lenihan signalled as much, saying there was scope for the Government to increase the figure if it was so minded but no decision had yet been made.

The figure was a minimum, he told reporters, and he would have to go through departments now and see what could be saved.

The Government, he said, had to strike a balance in making cuts in a way that did not damage the economy.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin said that the Government had always said that this December's Budget would be tough.

Speaking on RTÉ's Six One News, Mr Martin said that the growth of 3% in Ireland's GDP this year compared with a retraction of 1% last year showed there was a stabilisation of the economy.

Earlier, a number of backbenchers expressed concern about the ongoing cost of Anglo Irish Bank.

Kildare's Seán Power said the story had not been explained properly so far by ministers, while Cork North West TD Michael Moynihan said it was hugely important to get a final figure for the bank.

Job creation and the economy are set to top the agenda as the Parliamentary Party meets over two days, ahead of the start of the new Dáil session later this month.

Opening the meeting, Taoiseach Brian Cowen rejected Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny's assertion that it will take ten years to fix the economy.

Mr Cowen said that none of the opposition parties has a 'coherent policy framework' for dealing with either the economy or the banks.

The Taoiseach said that the Government's banking policy will proceed on the basis set out last March.

He said that Fianna Fáil was united regarding the banking policy being pursued by Government.

Regarding speculation about an early General Election, the Taoiseach predicted that the Government would last until May 2012.

Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern has meanwhile said that the Taoiseach enjoys the full support of the Fianna Fáil party as it faces into one of its toughest Dáil sessions.