“I, of course, respect the role of the Opposition in holding the Government to account..”

With the Irish Gross Domestic Product falling sharply both the Irish Times and RTÉ report on Taoiseach Brian Cowen’s confirmation that the Irish government may borrow more than originally planned. But the target of limiting borrowing to 9.5% of GDP, or about €17.5 billion, already looks out of date. The EC Commission, which has approved plans to return the deficit to within 3% of GDP by 2013, and that’s still “the important point” according to Brian Cowen, predicts an 11% deficit this year and a 13% deficit next year. Meanwhile the trade unions, having been forced to backtrack on a national strike, think the government should extend that 2013 deadline.. Adds CSO figures on GDP [pdf file].