Finance Minister 'very unwise' to rule out supplementary budget, says FF

Finance Minister 'very unwise' to rule out supplementary budget, says FF

The Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has faced criticism for not leaving open the option of a second budget in the case of a no-deal Brexit.

Fianna Fáil's finance spokesman Michael McGrath has hit out at Minister Donohoe for locking the Government into a spending strategy so far ahead of October's budget.

Reacting to the Government's summer economic statement, which was published today, Mr McGrath suggested €700m of a "discretionary element" in the €2.8bn budget would not be enough to deal with a crash-out Brexit.

Mr McGrath said Mr Donohoe was "very unwise" to rule out the possibility of a second budget, adding: "He is essentially saying Brexit or no Brexit and irrespective of the nature of whatever Brexit we get the Budget day package is the same. I think that is a mistake."

"The impression was given that we would have a radically different approach by the Government if there was going to be a disorderly Brexit, that there would be really strong interventions in the economy, supports provided for the critically affected areas. There is no evidence of that.

"We were under the impression in recent weeks that the Government was preparing two radically different budgets and they would decide late in the day which one was appropriate, but that really doesn't seem to the case," he said.

This view was echoed by Labour's Joan Burton who said it is still unknown as to whether there will be a "soft landing" after Brexit.

She said it would have been "sensible" of Mr Donohoe to leave open the possibility of a second Budget.

"I think that at least would have the value of being honest."

Sinn Féin finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty said the Government has squandered the recovery and allowed hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ funds to leak into the pockets of bankers, vultures and property investment funds.

He added that the Government's own figures show that there will be no money in the budget to begin tackling the crises in our public services.

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