State borrowed €70m a day last year

THE level of Ireland’s national debt shot up by more than €70 million a day last year as the Government borrowed more to keep up with day-to-day spending.

The cost of plugging the widening gap in the Exchequer cost the state some €25.8 billion extra in debt by the end of the year.

The figures from the annual report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) reveal that the general government debt had reached a massive €104.6bn by the end of the year. This was an increase on the 2008 debt of €79.8bn.

On top of the Government borrowing money to keep the economy ticking over, huge amounts in costs also mounted up in interest over the debts.

The C&AG report notes that the “debt service cost” for borrowing was €2.6bn by the end of the year.

This amounts to the state paying out more than €7m a day in interest on money borrowed to keep up Government spending.

The bulk of state borrowing was reported by the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) to the C&AG.

The dismal figures show that in the two years since the height of the economic boom in 2007, borrowing by the state has doubled.

Aside from the gross national debt, other borrowings mounted up for paying post office deposits, local government debts as well as the buy out of the West-Link toll bridge which still had a lasting debt of €482 million at the end of last year.

Overall the shortfalls in the running of the country which led to increased borrowing, according to the C&AG, was “mainly due to the funding of the Exchequer deficit for 2009”.

However, a halt has been made to short-term measures to fill gaps in the state’s coffers.

The report notes that in the 18 months to June of this year, the structure of Ireland’s debt has begun to change significantly.

The amount of gross national debt made up of short-term borrowings has decreased from 30% at the end of 2008 to 7.6% at the end of June this year.


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