Noonan defends 26.3% GDP growth figure - but won’t use it to plan Budget

Noonan defends 26.3% GDP growth figure - but won’t use it to plan Budget

Finance Minister Michael Noonan has said that the Central Statistics Office calculates growth figures for the Irish economy the same was as other European economies - but the latest figures won't be taken into account for the next Budget.

CSO figures released this week showed GDP growth of 26.3% in 2015, more than three times the rate of 7.8% that was estimated in March.

“It’s not that the CSO made an error,” he said.

“But if I was to base my policy decisions and [Minister for Public Expenditure] Paschal [Donohoe] was to base his policy decisions on that kind of growth rate, then we would make an error.

“So as you saw in the spring statement, we’re talking about growth rates of 5% this year, and coming down to about 4% for 2017.”

Read: Latest figures on Irish economy labelled 'leprechaun economics'

However, Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has said the CSO’s GDP growth figures demonstrate that the government is not taking its obligation to tackle tax avoidance seriously.

“These figures are so detached from reality that they are cause for serious alarm, he said.

“Per capita income has apparently risen to 130k in 2015, and we’re supposed to believe that the state’s industrial base has doubled in the past year.

“But the Net National Income grew by 6.5% in 2015 while consumer spending rose by 4.5%. These income and consumption figures are a far more accurate reflection of real economic activity and growth.

He added: “One consequence of yesterday’s distorted figures is that the State will now be required to increase its contribution to the EU budget at taxpayers’ expense.

“Most alarmingly, the figures reveal a glimpse at the level of dubious accountancy tricks being played by multinationals in Ireland over the past year – a period in which the Irish government claimed it was committed to playing its part in the global crackdown on tax avoidance.”


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