“But we don’t all have crystal balls.”

No, nothing to do with portraitgate. An iol report refers to an Irish government budget deficit of €16billion. But perhaps that doesn’t take into account some recent Irish economic news.. or, maybe, that’s just part of Charlie McCreevy’s great British conspiracy.. ANYway.. RTÉ reports warning sounds from several Ministers.

Mr Cowen added that the model of taxation would have to be adapted to suit the new circumstances. Speaking before today’s meeting, Minister for Education Batt O’Keeffe said the budget is taking shape. He said the meeting was an important one and that the Government would probably take a look at the overall shape of what it intends to do and then come to final conclusions. Minister O’Keefe added that the Government is very anxious to achieve a ‘proper balance’ in the budget and to treat people equally across the board. Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern said this is not like a ‘typical budget’. He said it is a ‘very difficult’ situation when the country costs €55bn to run and there is only €34bn in tax returns.

[€55bn – €34bn = ? – Ed] Indeed.
The Irish Times has the qualified apology from the former Finance Minister

Mr Cowen offered a qualified apology for the mistakes of the past.

“Do take responsibility for some of the decisions that I have taken? I take all the responsibility for all of the decisions that I have taken in my public life. And they were taken by me on the basis of the best possible advice available to me at the time. Are there changes that I would contemplate were I to know now that we would be in this position? Of course, there’d be different decisions that you would take. But we don’t all have crystal balls. We can’t all see into the future with great accuracy,” he said

“ But all of the decisions that we took were taken on the basis of the best advice at the time. Do I regret? I regret anyone that is unemployed in this country; I regret the fact that anyone is facing anxiety and concerns. Of course I do. Am I fully responsible for that? No. But do I take my share of responsibility in respect of it. Of course I do. I have never suggested otherwise.”

“If I was the sole contributor to this, I would have the solution today to get out of it. There is a global, wider context to this.”

“We did create more employment than anybody else. We did have these improvements. We did halve our debt. We did increase our social welfare payments well beyond the cost of living. We did a lot of good things,” he said.

, , , , , ,

  • George

    Pete,
    It’s hard for all these ministers to keep pace with the ever-changing figures.

    The 37 billion tax take predicted in January has now been re-predicted to 34 billion three months later.

    But hey, everyone’s at it.

    Wait until you see Chancellor Alistair Darling’s re-predictions for the UK’s coming year.

    Last November in his pre-budget report, Darling announced a 20 billion stimulus and forecast that borrowing would rise to 118 billion (8 per cent of GDP).

    Now it looks like it will be 180 billion or 12.6 per cent of GDP.

    [180 billion – 118 billion = ? ED]

    Analysts say he could be as much as 270 billion out for his predictions for the next 5 years.

    To make matters even more confusing, the head of the Bank of England is now saying the opposite to what the Prime Minister is saying.

    Mervyn King is saying there should be no borrowing while Brown is still preaching the stimulus package mantra.

    Then of course there’s issue of where this money is going to come from, never mind who is going to pay it back.

    [It won’t be me – Ed]