Belfast Telegraph

Republic of Ireland's Finance Minister to ease up on austerity measures


The Republic's Finance Minister Michael Noonan gave the clearest indication yet that his October Budget will ease up on austerity.

Mr Noonan said there is some flexibility on tax hikes and cuts due in next month's budget.

"We don't want to impose any hardship that isn't necessary," Finance Minister Michael Noonan told Newstalk radio. "The Europeans are very insistent that we meet the targets but there is a little bit of flexibility to bring forward the best budget possible."

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said on Friday evening that extra money will go education and jobs.

Mr Noonan's comments are sure to encourage those who fear cuts or tax hikes but annoy some international lenders who are supporting the economy by lending more than €1bn a month to Ireland to pay for services.

The International Monetary Fund, Ireland's central bank and, most recently, influential European Central Bank Executive Board member Joerg Asmussen have all said the money should be held to cushion the weak Irish economy against any shocks ahead of an exit from the bailout.

Belfast Telegraph