Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe has defended his fiscal policies and denied that he was “a playboy with the public purse.”
Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, Mr Donohoe acknowledged that the Government “should have done better” on the issue of the cost of the National Children’s Hospital.
“I’ve always acknowledged that in the area of health expenditure it has been higher than expected.”
He said there was a renewed focus on how health spending is managed which was why the Government had worked to sign the new GP contract and the new nurses’ contract.
Mr Donohoe said extra tax has gone on increased public expenditure and reducing the deficit.
“Look at where we are in the financial cycle. This time a decade ago we were in a financial bubble. Now we have a far more diversified economy with levels of debt that are far lower.”
The Minister said that the first quarter of this year has seen “a massive increase” in job creation and retention and the economy is “growing at full pace.”
In relation to Brexit, Mr Donohoe said that final decisions have not yet been made. “We are facing a unique challenge.”
He said that the prospect of a no deal Brexit was a cause for concern and he will present the Cabinet with the different scenarios “we might have to deal with if we find ourselves with a no deal scenario.”
However, he said that the model for a no deal scenario shows that the economy can still grow and that the jobs created can be kept. “But it will mean we will have to make even more careful decisions on day-to-day spending.”