Bruton insists 'mini-budget' not on cards

Jobs and Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton today said the Government will make further budget adjustments if needed, but a 'mini- budget' this year is not necessary at this stage.

Minister Bruton said Ireland's finances are on track at the moment, but the Government will have to wait and see how "issues develop".

He said people are already aware that implications will follow if growth is less than expected.

"We've had just one month of financial returns (and) they have been very positive," he said.

"So I think at this stage the Government remains confident that our budget is on track.

"But obviously we have to wait and see how issues develop, and the Government have indicated that if adjustment is necessary, adjustment will take place.

"But that is not in prospect at this time."

It follows the emergence in Berlin yesterday of a leaked document from the European Commission which suggested further austerity measures may be needed in Ireland.

The Commission report, set to be published later today, indicated that further "fiscal tightening" will be needed if the economy continues to decline.

The Commission last month cut its forecast for Irish GDP growth in 2012 to 0.5%, from around 1%.

The Government is still standing by its own forecast of 1.3% growth for the year.

Meanwhile the European Commission in a statement this morning said it was "extremely concerned" at the manner in which the document had made its way into the public domain.

"The European Commission is deeply concerned about the apparent leaking of its most recent staff report on Ireland's progress under the financial assistance programme," the statement said.

"Commission staff strive to ensure that reports are prepared with the utmost accuracy and that confidentiality is preserved in advance of publication."

It said breaches of confidentiality undermine the review process, and are harmful to the efforts that are being made in countries under programmes to comply with their conditions.

"The Commission would like to underline once again the good track record of programme implementation established in Ireland so far," the statement concluded.

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore today told the Dáil he was not happy that the document had been leaked ahead of publication, the second time recent months that sensitive Irish budgetary information has made its way into the hands of German lawmakers

"A mini-budget will not be necessary, so I hate to disappoint you with that," he told deputies.

"I am unhappy at the way in which this document was handled and the way in which it was leaked," he added.

"That matter has been raised this morning with both the German Finance Ministry and with the European Commission".

"And I intend to discuss it with our ambassador in Berlin."

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