Spring Statement: "Over blown, over bearing and out of touch"

Even the National Association of Anti-Climaxes would have refused the Spring Statement entry to its ranks for fear of reducing their already disappointing reputation to an all time low in the minds of right thinking people, suggests political correspondent Shaun Connolly.

Spring Statement: "Over blown, over bearing and out of touch"

After more leaks than an Irish Water pipeline, the Spring statement was much like that unloved utility — over blown, over bearing and out of touch.

Michael Noonan and Brendan Howlin took it in turns to speak for thirty minutes each as they competed with one another to see who could be the most banal and vacuous — Spoiler Alert: It was Howlin.

At one point it appeared as if even Taoiseach Enda Kenny was drifting off to sleep — and he was not alone in dreaming of escape from the pointlessness of it all.

Surprisingly, some of the best lines of the day came from the Sinn Féin benches, not normally known as the habitat of the Dáil’s natural chuckle monkeys.

The party’s Peadar Toibin, mused: “The public must be wondering where they can apply to get their hour back.”

While Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald said that Mr Howlin and Mr Noonan reminded her of Jonathan Swift’s line: “Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.”

Not so much Swift, the pair of Ministers were more like an aged, end of the road, Ant and Dec. But rather than presenting Saturday Night Takeaway, it was more like a ropey pilot for Election Day Giveaway.

But, the sad fact is though Mr Noonan insisted we were coming to the end of the austerity budgets, but while the spare 1.5bn the Coalition has to play with tax cuts and spending boosts in the pre-election October Budget is better than nothing, it is hardly that much to giveaway really.

At one point Mr Howlin was so desperate for things to pad out his speech, he announced: “We have stood up for the Irish people.”

Oh, how they must still be giggling about that one in Frankfurt, as, despite the promises, the bond holders remain as un-burned as asbestos, and, surprise, surprise, there was no mention at all of the 2012 “deal” on the EU refunding billions of the bank bail-out debts, which the Coalition at the time insisted was a “seismic game changer”.

Now it seems the Coalition is just concerned about playing games with voters. There was nothing of substance on the mortgage misery as the Government again delayed unveiling its latest half-baked, uninspired package of measures intended to counter the failure of the last half-backed, uninspired package of measures.

And, on the key issue of childcare, Mr Howlin blandly announced he “looks forward to reviewing the outcome” of a working group set-up by the Children’s Minister.

That would be the hype-tastic idea flung-out in February in which the Government said it would look at tinkering with what is already in the existing, inadequate, childcare budget, the bulk of which goes on the free pre-school year, rather than bring-in the Scandavian-style solution which was promised, and is clearly needed.

Spring may be in the air, but this smug-fest of a self-regarding, empty election stunt, will just leave voters further in despair.


In case you missed it here's the spring economic statement from Michael Noonan and Brendan Howlin in full

Here's some reaction from Fianna Fail's Michael McGrath and Sean Fleming

Here independent TD Clare Daly's gives her take on the statement

Finally Eoin Ronayne of CPSU posted his assessment

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