An Irish government Minister has bizarrely claimed that the worst of the recession is over – as taxpayers fear even more draconian cuts in December’s budget.
Transport Minister Leo Varadkar made the claim on the same day that government leader Enda Kenny warned that the reduction in the cost of Ireland’s bail-out won’t ease the burden on taxpayers.
Kenny has repeated earlier warnings of a severe budget in December with four billion Euro worth of cuts needed as his government looks to cut the national deficit under the conditions of the EU-IMF bail-out.
But Kenny’s Fine Gael colleague Varadkar has tried to tell voters that there is now ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ despite the doom and gloom of those living through the worst recession in Ireland’s history.
Varadkar insisted on Irish television that Ireland’s future is bright and the new EU bailout deal for Greece, which triggered an interest rate cut for Irish debt, will make a huge difference to the economy.
“For the first time in three years I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” claimed Varadkar in almost Fianna Fail-esque tones reminiscent of Bertie Ahern, Brian Cowen and Brian Lenihan in their Celtic Tiger heyday.
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Despite all the evidence to the contrary, Dublin deputy Varadkar insisted: “The economy will return to growth this year, all be it very slow growth. And the cost of the bank bailout appears to be falling.
“Instead of getting worse every month, we are starting to see things bottom out or even get a bit better. Things are actually going in the right direction for us.”
In his interview with state broadcaster RTE, Varadkar also denied that Ireland’s low corporation tax rates were under threat as part of the new EU deal on lower interest rates.
He also believes the billion Euro private investment in Bank of Ireland, confirmed on Monday, will ease pressure on the Irish Exchequer.
His comments came as Britain agreed to cut its emergency bail-out loans to Ireland in line with the Eurozone move.
In total, the State will now have an extra one billion Euro to divert to other areas of spending from 2012 but not in time to avoid another savage €4billion worth of cuts in the December budget.