Varadkar: Ironic that opposition critical of government over-spending

The Taoiseach says he is "keeping the barbarians from the gates" when it comes to overspending.

It follows heavy criticism of the government's plans for the economy, in a report from the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council (IFAC).

Opposition parties have warned the Taoiseach not to spend massively in the forthcoming budget and to heed advice to be cautious with the public purse.

Leo Varadkar says it is an ironic thing to hear from the opposition benches.

"Fianna Fáil tonight demanding more money for Defence Forces in terms of pay and pensions and it's not that they have particular regard for them, it'll be another group next week," said Mr Varadkar.

"Independent deputies looking for more money for sport, Sinn Féin looking for more money for home care.

This is a government that is holding the line on spending and it is tough.

Fianna Fáil's finance spokesperson, Michael McGrath has said that there needs to be a tighter hold on the public purse.

"I think that we have had a good run, many of the variables have bounced in our favour over the last number of years," said Mr McGrath.

"That is not going to continue indefinitely so I think the risks in economic terms are certainly on the downside."

The IFAC has also warned the government not to continue overspending by relying on higher than expected receipts from corporation tax.

Paschal Donohoe insists he is trying to do that but says the current situation allows him to put money aside to deal with a potential economic shock.

"I would be able to put more money into the rainy day fund were we to collect higher levels of corporation tax in the future," said Mr Donohoe.

"A rainy day fund makes most sense when you are in an environment of having your books balanced and running a surplus.

"We are now in a situation where we are running a surplus that is why I believe a rainy day fund is an important idea for now."

Mr Donohoe insisted that he has taken steps to ensure that Ireland is not too dependent on corporation tax.

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