“this was the consequence if people opted to buy in another State..”

Here’s a fascinating report from RTÉ on comments by the Republic of Ireland’s Finance Minister Brian Lenihan, responding to queries about the Budget on RTÉ Radio this morning.

The Minister for Finance has said an increase in the number of people travelling North of the border to do their shopping had made things ‘very, very difficult’ when he was framing the Budget.

He said there was huge loss of revenue to Northern Ireland, because of the number of goods and services being purchased there by shoppers from the Republic. The Minister said this substantial expenditure meant the Government had to impose higher taxes for essential public services.

Minister Lenihan said this was the consequence if people opted to buy in another State. He said the only substantial ‘compensatory payment’ the State was getting for the loss of revenue was from Northern motorists who cross the border for cheaper petrol. The Minister said this informed his decision not to increase the excise on a litre of petrol by more than eight cent.

As former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said, of the future of the administrations here and there, “people will just have to be tolerant of that..”

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  • slug

    A bit rich from the state that specialises in beggar-thy-neighbour economics.

  • Did Brian Lenihan wring his hands when the State was benefiting by NI motorists coming south for cheap petrol after Broon’s fuel price escalator? Thought not.

  • Greenflag

    Good man Lenihan -blame the North that’ll go down well with the punters . Nice move . Just as well the election is at least 3 years away and we don’t have a Cameron as opposition leader .

    We remember his dad Brian back in the 80’s when the IMF were getting ready to drop Ireland’s credit rating down to below par level, and just above the minumum accepted international standard. As a quarter of a million fled the SS pre Celtic Tiger Ireland – the bould Lenihan Sr commented that shure was’nt Ireland just a small island anyway and there just was’nt enough room for all of us:(

    Plus ca change .

    Still it could have been worse – the budget that is !

    Bought some time for the next one .

  • Mark McGregor

    I thought it more interesting that a ‘state’ with an economy is having to react to the situation in a ‘statelet’ that barely has one and certainly has no control over theirs beyond whinging.

    A basket case economy bringing down a real one due to state aid – hello, Europe where are you?

    About time this subvention economy stood or fell on its own merits?

  • Dewi

    Sorry to digress but can someone remind me where Chekov and Nic Whyte were debating Kosova? – a bit out of touch.

  • Reader

    Mark McGregor: A basket case economy bringing down a real one due to state aid
    Firstly, what has state aid got to do with prices in the high street? Do you think Gordon Brown is subsidising the retail price of DVD players?
    And secondly – whatever happened to the principle of ‘to each according to his needs’? The notion of regional and especially individual subvention is surely canonical among the left.

  • Comrade Stalin

    The Irish government have taken on a scarily authoritarian bent in the past few days, and this effort to blame people crossing the border to purchase seems bizarre. Ireland has built it’s entire economy on enticing firms and workers across it’s own borders to do their business there in a low tax environment.

    I’m wondering where the right-wing anti-Lisbon types are now, now that Ireland doesn’t feel quite so smug and self-assured anymore. Less than a year ago they were telling Europe to go fuck themselves. How long before they have to go to Brussels for help ?

  • ulsterfan

    I am sure there is a student somewhere writing a thesis entitled “From Celtic tiger to bankruptcy in one short move.”
    Ireland’s credit rating is so low it can not borrow.
    Tough times ahead for the next 5 years.

  • George

    Comrade,
    Less than a year ago they were telling Europe to go fuck themselves. How long before they have to go to Brussels for help ?

    Lenihan says he went to Brussels a couple of weeks ago for help and it seems he was told to go fuck himself. So the anti-Lisbon types are alive and well after that one.

    Ulsterfan,
    Ireland’s credit rating is so low it can not borrow.

    Still Triple A with Fitch’s so which credit rating are you talking about? Or have you just made that up?

  • sammaguire

    Have to laugh at people down here moaning about the prices here. Fact is they want it both ways; NI prices and of course ROI salaries. Still it’s great to head up to Newry for some cheap booze every now and then. Pity the Carlsberg is a miserly 3.8% in poxy little 440ml cans!
    Maybe we should water down our “cheap” petrol in revenge!

  • niall

    Celtic Tiger dies in 2001/02. The growth since then has been sustained by the global credit binge.

    The republic shares just one land border but it’s nice to see their chancellor has wrapped his tiny mind around the finer details of free movement in the european union, it aint complicated ya gombeen.

    In truth this comment and the debate it could open up is a complete distraction from the terrible mismanagement of the Irish economy.

    Biggest boom in history and still crap infrastructure, education, health, healthservice, wealth distribution and did I say education?

    So much for the great education system that could take on the world;
    why are so few of your companies your own?
    Why did so many of your well educated workforce take on albatross loans?
    Why did your citizens ignore the first 18 months of the crash and continue to but property in bulgaria/spain/shitsville?
    why did you not regulate your banks properly?
    why do your public servants get paid such salaries for making a balls of things?
    why is your healthservice shit?
    why do you have so many bording schools – are your local ones shit?
    why do you have “grind” schools – are your local ones shit?

    Try and answer those questions Brian while the wife takes the 4×4 to Newry to fill her with drink so you can drink yourself into the care of the shit public healthcare….. no sorry thats right your a public servant so can afford private……. oh shit thats right you don’t eally have a free health service..

    Basically I think he is useless and if he wants to be critical of those shopping north of the border I’d expect those who do so to let him have both barrels. Arsehole.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Wonder if Lenihan’s petrol rise will have much effect on smuggling?

  • Comrade Stalin

    George,

    Lenihan says he went to Brussels a couple of weeks ago for help and it seems he was told to go fuck himself. So the anti-Lisbon types are alive and well after that one.

    You do have a point there, handling this matter has not been Europe’s finest hour by any means.

    My point remains though, that economic situations like this tend to make people feel a bit less independent. Scotland, for example.

  • DK

    As well as petrol, I think nordies were also responsible for buying up most of Donegal’s holiday homes, which helped to fuel his lovely celtic tiger. Whining bastard.

  • eranu

    i think the cheap petrol in the south is pretty much a thing of the past.
    99.9p/€1.28(statelet) versus about €1.25(free state)
    with a 50 litre tank i make that a difference of about €1.50. not really worth the effort. damn this all ireland harmonisation!

  • fin

    surely he’s just looking for an excuse for a harsh budget, I think the evidence is a lack of figures given how many euros is “huge”

    Is there a big difference in shopping in NI or shopping in a UK supermarket chain in the south, the money still leaves the country

    Or for that matter, once you buy any foreign goods you are supporting someone elses economy, all those big shiny 4x4s are manufactured outside of Ireland, we could have another guarenteed Irish campaign, however there isn’t all that much manufactured in Ireland anymore (north or south)except debt

  • Alan

    The future is rapidly heading away from National solutions to economic earthquakes like the one we’re going through.

    It is essential that national democracies cede more of their sovereignty to international organisations that can enforce regulation. The future is, as it always has been, international. The past, with all it’s focus on lines across the land and difference, is becoming increasingly untenable.

  • runciter

    It is essential that national democracies cede more of their sovereignty to international organisations that can enforce regulation.

    To whom will these ‘international organisations’ be accountable?

  • Alan

    Regional governments,

  • George

    Alan,
    but if you cede sovereignty to an international organisation then it can’t be accountable to a regional government.

    In fact, it would be the regional government that would be accountable to the international organisation.

    That’s what ceding sovereignty means. That is why the Irish State is accountable to the EU for arrears within the EU’s remit; because it ceded sovereignty in these areas.

  • Dev

    ‘but if you cede sovereignty to an international organisation then it can’t be accountable to a regional government’

    Those international organisations are, ultimately, answerable to the electorates of the states that compose the supra-national bodies. Although in reality the democratic accontability of EU institutions is less than ideal, I stll think the only way out of this is to have greater integration within the EU to pool our resources and make the continent a bigger player on the world stage than any of its constituent states could ever hop to be, circling the waggons so to speak. But if that is to happen then there has to be a serious process of fully democratising the EU which will ultimatley mean more power being handed to the Parliament away from the Commission or perhaps having commissioners be directly elected rather than appointed by their govts.

  • runciter

    democratising the EU which will ultimatley mean more power being handed to the Parliament away from the Commission or perhaps having commissioners be directly elected rather than appointed by their govts.

    Democracy does not scale very well. c.f. the USA.