Leo Varadkar seeks Fianna Fáil deal before budget

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is pushing to renew the confidence and supply deal with Fianna Fáil before the Budget to allow the Government to get a handle on future spending.

With deal due to end after October’s budget, he is eager to have a successor deal in place, as he said the Government “needs to know that it’s going to be around” in the coming months.

However, Mr Varadkar ruled out “throwing money” in the budget at issues such as the homeless crisis and hospital waiting lists.”

“If we learned anything from the run in to the last financial crisis, it’s that throwing money at problems doesn’t solve them. We’re not going to repeat the mistakes of the past.”

While he said public expenditure will increase by more than €3bn next year, he cautioned that there must be “prudent management” of the public finances and the main aim of the Government will be to reduce national debt to move towards a surplus in the years ahead.

At the National Economic Dialogue at Dublin Castle Mr Varadkar said: “We cannot go back to that philosophy of ‘if I have it, I’ll spend it’, or worse still, ‘just borrow it’, or we’ll find out pretty quickly that we don’t have it anymore. 

The Government is determined to ensure that our budgetary strategy is based on steady increases in public expenditure, underpinned by stable and predictable tax revenues.

“Expectations have increased, given the remarkable performance of our economy. However, not all expectations can be met.”

 

As he arrived at the forum, Mr Varadkar said he would address the confidence and supply agreement in the next couple of weeks, but he added that he wanted to sit down with Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin before divulging details to the media or the public.

The Taoiseach said: “What I will say is that for a government to function, to govern well and look after people’s interests and do their business, that government needs to know that it’s going to be around in a month’s time, or two months’ time or three months’ time.

“That’s why I think it is prudent that we would renew that confidence and supply agreement before it expires.

“I do want to renew, because I believe this government is working well on working on all those challenges.”


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