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With the festive period now over, politicians have turned their thoughts to the year ahead and in one respect the mood across the parties is the same – we are now in an election year.
In a famous speech in 1992 Britain’s Queen Elizabeth referred to having just endured ‘an annus horribilis’. Well at Christmas 2014 any member of the Irish Government could make the very same statement.
Following Ireland’s exit from the EU/IMF recovery programme and in the context of projected GDP growth of 4.7 per cent for 2014 and 3.9 per cent for 2015, Ministers Noonan and Howlin announced their budgetary measures for 2015 which have been set out below. More detail will be included in the Finance Bill to be published later this month.
In the ten year period, commencing in 2001, the Social Protection budget increased by 266 per cent. The cumulative rate of inflation in that period was a mere 30 per cent.
With the schools back, the evenings longer, and summer giving way to autumn, focus is switching to the resumption of the Dáil and to what the political environment will be like over the coming months. Are we facing a winter of discontent or are the dark skies starting to give way to brighter days?
THE GALWAY Arts Centre begins its autumn programme tomorrow evening with the opening of The Ghost In The Machine, featuring artists Aideen Doran and Marianne Keating.
NUI Galway economics professor Alan Ahearne has been appointed as an advisor to the International Monetary Fund.
“Ireland took the bullet for the EU” over the collapse of the continent’s economic and banking institutions, and now “it’s pay back time”, as younger generations should not have to face a future of “austerity in perpetuity”.
Fianna Fáil TD Dara Calleary has said there must be a review of the role of the Energy Regulator to strengthen the protections in place for consumers in Mayo ahead of the sale of Bord Gáis Energy (BGE) next year. Deputy Calleary said the announcement that Bord Gáis Energy is to be sold to Centrica, which operates British Gas, will cause concern as prices have been increasing for consumers in the UK.
Against the background of tough budgets in recent years, Ministers Noonan and Howlin framed their speeches in the context of preparing the country to exit the EU/IMF recovery programme and the creation of jobs in a range of sectors. Set out below is an outline of the main measures announced. More detail will be included in the Finance Bill which is to be published next month.