Now about that budget filip for Irish Labour I was talking about the other day. As our commenter Nordie Northsider warned, after each Irish budget tends to come “an unravelling of certain provisions…”
The biggest single unravelling came in committee yesterday when the Health Minister admitted he’d had nothing to do with costing the €660m savings in the health budget, and expressed serious doubt he’d make them.
Add to that a figure of more than €330 million health analyist Sarah Burke says (Drivetime from 1.21) is the average annual increase just to keep up with a demographic progression in the population, and James Reilly has a mountain to climb.
There are other controversies, particularly over discretionary medical cards. The Minister says they are being cut back strictly on a means to pay basis, the opposition say they will be taken from people with long term or chronic conditions. That’s an argument as likely to get settled out in the country if not in the media in coming months.
And as Michael Taft of the Unite union notes, the hit on youth is not going to play well with Labour voters (would the last wo/man out please switch out the lights), and opens the door wider to Sinn Fein’s pitch for their red playing boots.
But the most ominous aspect for a budget regarding the headline cut from a €3.1 billion adjustment to €2.5 billion because of Michael Noonan’s sharp footwork with Europe.
Fianna Fail’s Michael McGrath has found this intriguing little footnote in the budget document:
“€0.6 Billion of the budgetary adjustment comes from additional resources and savings elsewhere. Adding all of these to the €1.85 Billion in new policy measures outlined above gives a total adjustment package of €3.1 Billion in 2014.”
So would that be Frankfurt’s way after all?
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty