Header Item Business of Dáil (Continued)
 Header Item Ireland's Stability Programme Update April 2016: Statements

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 907 No. 4
Unrevised

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An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Is the proposal regarding the adjournment tonight agreed to? Agreed.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald On a separate issue.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl No, we cannot raise a separate issue. We have no-----

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald I lodged with the Ceann Comhairle a motion, under Standing Order 33, on a matter of national importance. It relates to what has become a litany of so-called gangland killings, three of which have happened in my constituency, others across the city.

Everybody would agree that we now have not just a crisis in policing resources, but also a crisis in community confidence. This is an issue that needs to be discussed, debated, resolved and decided upon on the floor of the Dáil. I understand that the motion that I lodged with the Ceann Comhairle has been ruled out of order. That is as he says it. However, I wish to register for the record, not least on behalf of the people whom I represent, that they had and have an expectation that we take an interest in what is happening in the real world and on the streets and the circumstances of fear and vulnerability in which they are now living. The Garda Síochána in the city of Dublin, north and south of the River Liffey, is down 100 uniformed gardaí. The gardaí themselves have met in conference, as the Ceann Comhairle knows. They have set out again very starkly the circumstances that they are in, and it is not acceptable that all of that is happening, with all of the impact on community and families, and not a word said about it in the Dáil Chamber.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl The Deputy's point is well made. The validity of her point is beyond question. Perhaps the Whips would discuss the matter and see if time could be arranged. However, the Deputy's motion is not in order at present-----

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald I am not challenging that ruling.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl -----and her point is made now, so please-----

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald I ask, then, that we agree, as a Dáil, that time will be made available. Perhaps time could be made available tomorrow-----

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl We will ask-----

Deputy Darragh O'Brien: Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien That is what the Whips are there for.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald -----for us to have statements on and some consideration of this very urgent matter.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Please resume your seat now. The point the Deputy is raising is of the utmost importance. I ask the Whips to consider the matter and see whether a proposal can be brought forward in that regard.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin We would be very agreeable to that.

Ireland's Stability Programme Update April 2016: Statements

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I welcome the opportunity to be here today to discuss the stability programme update. In terms of process, we have a legal obligation to submit a stability programme to Brussels by the end of April. All member states are required to do this, unless they are in a programme. Thankfully, the days when we were in a programme are over for Ireland.

The stability programme sets out the Government's macroeconomic and fiscal forecasts for Ireland and is the first update of the Government's projections since budget 2016 in October of last year. The SPU is presented in draft form and I am, as usual, willing to take on board useful comments made by Deputies. The final version will be submitted to Brussels tomorrow, or at the latest on Friday. The macroeconomic forecasts underpinning the stability programme have already been endorsed by the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council. That is the process. The Department of Finance generates the statistics, they are submitted to the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council and, when it agrees, the documents are prepared for submission to the European Commission.

As part of the annual European semester process, the European Commission assesses the budgetary strategy of each member state by reference to its stability programme. On this occasion it is important to note that the economic and fiscal forecasts contained in this document are prepared on a technical, no-policy-change basis. We are not setting out any new policies within this document. This is the standard practice where there is a political interregnum.

This document makes no reference to fiscal space. This can be set out in a Spring Economic Statement or summer statement at a later stage. The Spring Economic Statement, which an incoming Government should be in a position to generate in the first half of May, will be the subject of a major debate in this House and will contain policy proposals in the normal way. At the time of the budget last year, my Department estimated a net fiscal space of €8.5 billion over the period 2017 to 2021. The Department of Finance also clarified that if the medium-term objective, MTO, was changed, it would free up an additional €1.5 billion of fiscal space over this timeline. The MTO has subsequently been changed. In addition, some other inputs have changed. On foot of these changes, my Department currently estimates the net fiscal space to be somewhere in the region of €10 billion to €11 billion over the period 2017 to 2021. For next year, again arising from some changes into the inputs of calculation, the net fiscal space is estimated at around €900 million. I stress that this is work in progress and subject to revision. There are many moving parts in the calculation, including inputs from the European Commission that only become available over the summer, and this may give rise to further variations in the figure before budget day.


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