IFAC advice ‘is just an opinion’

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny is attempting to calm things down after the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council (IFAC) recommendation that two billion euro more in cuts is needed.

He is adamant hat the tough recommendation from the independent IFAC is just an opinion, despite its position as a top state think-tank.

Mr. Kenny said: “We set up the independent fiscal council with the purpose of allowing the independents to give their views. This is an independent report from the fiscal council. Obviously it’s not binding for government.”

It was reported in the Independent that Sinn Fein deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald has described the IFAC plans as reckless. She said: “If implemented they would damage the economy, further undermine vital frontline public services and hurt families.”

IFAC, chaired by Professor John McHale, NUI Galway, has advised additional savings of 1.9 billion euro up until 2015. In its third assessment of economic conditions, it said Ireland is on course to meet its deficit targets for this year but that debt sustainability and credit-worthiness remains fragile.

The Taoiseach said the Government would reflect IFAC’s advice. He said: “What we want is to maximise savings to minimise cuts.”

Of its plan, the advisory group said in the Independent: “This would also help to put the debt-to-GDP ratio on a faster downward trajectory and would provide additional insurance, albeit limited, in the effort to ensure debt sustainability.”