Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny has admitted that his government is holding off on bad news on the budget until after the Presidential election.
Coalition partners Fine Gael and Labor both fancy their chances of winning the election at the end of the month.
Labor candidate Michael D Higgins has a real chance according to the opinion polls while Fine Gael’s Gay Mitchell is an outsider at best.
Their hopes won’t be helped by leaks regarding the draconian cutbacks expected in the December budget – and PM Kenny has confirmed the government will stay mum until after polling day.
The Coalition however has denied it is avoiding a backlash against Higgins and Mitchell by staying quiet on the pain to come for voters in their first official budget since winning February’s election.
The fact that the two parties are currently at loggerheads over the proposed cutbacks in the December budget may also help independent frontrunner Sean Gallagher and Sinn Fein candidate Martin McGuinness.
Opposition party Fianna Fail has already accused Fine Gael and Labor of postponing publication of the options for budget cuts until after polling day to avoid it having a negative impact on their candidates in the presidential election and the Dublin by-election.
The government has refuted the Fianna Fail allegation with a spokesman saying: “The scale of the challenge confronting the Government transcends any election.”
PM Kenny has confirmed however than an announcement on the scale of the cutbacks needed in the next budget will be held off until after the presidential election.
“We want to ensure there is as clear an environment as possible to announce it to the public,” added his government spokesman.