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Noonan should blame the fiscal rules not the fiscal referee – Doherty

28 June, 2016 - by Pearse Doherty TD

Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Deputy Pearse Doherty has said that Minister Noonan “should blame the fiscal rules not the fiscal referee” following his attack on the EU’s accounting body Eurostat. Deputy Doherty said repeated government attempts to spend “off balance sheet” were failing not because of any Eurostat agenda but because they go against the austerity mind-set that the rules are founded upon.

Deputy Doherty said:

“At the time of the so called Fiscal Stability Treaty, Sinn Féin clearly spelled out why these fiscal rules would prevent investment and spending on public services. We are now in exactly that position. The government is flapping around trying to cheat the rules through special vehicles or off balance sheet entities but are having no success.

“The Eurostat decision on Irish Water is a case in point. These rules are specifically designed to prevent government spending and investment. The government should not be surprised when the EU’s accountants interpret them in that way.

“Following on from Enda Kenny’s letter to the EU last week, we now see another architect of the rules, Michael Noonan, lashing out at Eurostat. The Minister should be blaming the rules not the referee. He signed us up for the game.

“If Michael Noonan has had an epiphany and now believes the rules are too restrictive, he should back his words up with actions. He should be supporting Sinn Féin in putting it to Brussels that we need these rules altered immediately. Domestically, he needs to stop the recklessness of cutting taxes when our infrastructure is creaking at the seams.  Otherwise, his attack on the referee is only an empty distraction.

“While I have always agreed that the rules are too restrictive, this does not let Minister Noonan off the hook as he has been well aware of the crises we face in a number of areas in our economy from underinvestment over the last number of years including a housing emergency. Yet he prioritised tax cuts instead of investing in our economy and he seems intent on carrying on down this path over the coming years with his reckless plan to phase out USC.” 

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