Quarter of tax take to service debt

A QUARTER of the state’s entire tax take next year will go on servicing the exploding national debt, it was revealed.

The country will plunge €112 billion into the red in 2011 – triple €37.6bn debt marked up in 2007, the Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee (PAC) heard.

News that the €5bn the Exchequer is to spend servicing this year’s debt of €94bn, would climb to €6.5bn next year – more than a quarter of the estimated €35bn the state will take in tax receipts – set alarm bells ringing on the influential committee.

Fine Gael’s Padraic McCormack warned borrowing may have “got out of control” and branded the rise “intolerable”.

“People seem to have lost all sense of reeling this in,” he added.

However, chief executive of the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) John Corrigan said the state can still borrow money on the international markets at a much lower rate than countries like Greece.

He said Ireland paid 4.6% for funds, compared to the 8% Greece is paying, However he acknowledged that Spain – one of the failing five economies of the EU branded PIIGS (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain) was charged lower yields than the Irish Government.

Mr Corrigan said the National Asset Management Agency, which is under the NTMA umbrella, will have between 75 to 80 staff when it is up and running.

It was also revealed the state claims agency had payouts soar from €15.3m in 2007 to €39.5m in 2008 over clinical negligence.

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