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Fiscal Responsibility Bill 2012: Second Stage (Resumed)

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Fiscal Responsibility Bill 2012: Second Stage (Resumed)

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Fiscal Responsibility Bill 2012: Second Stage (Resumed)

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Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick

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Peter Fitzpatrick

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Snippet Contents:

I welcome the opportunity to discuss the Fiscal Responsibility Bill 2012 which provides for the implementation in national law of certain fiscal rules contained in the Treaty on Stability, Co-ordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union. It continues a programme of reforming Ireland's budgetary framework in line with developments at national and EU level. It is aptly named if one considers the definition of the word "responsibility" as the obligation to carry forward an assigned task to a successful conclusion, or reliability or dependability, especially in meeting debts or payments. This the job that the people have asked the Government to perform. Last May they endorsed the Government in this task with a strong 60% vote in favour of the referendum. The first definition refers to carrying out a task to a successful conclusion. That is what the Government will do. We were given the task of putting the country back on the road to recovery through thick and thin. The Government will carry out this task, even though difficult decisions will have to be made.
The Bill imposes a duty on the Government to comply with the budgetary and debt rules. The budgetary rule requires that the budgetary position must be either in balance or in surplus, with the annual structural balance at the medium-term budgetary objective, MTO, figure or else the annual structural balance must comply with the adjustment path toward the MTO as set out in the Stability and Growth Pact, unless exceptional circumstances as defined under the pact apply. If there is a failure to comply with the budgetary rule and the deviation from the MTO or the adjustment path is more than 0.5% of GDP, the Government will be required to implement a correction mechanism, the provisions of which have been drafted in the light of common principles adopted by the European Commission. If these parameters are adhered to, Ireland's path to recovery will be shortened and, as such, they should be embraced. The Government has agreed to them and can now use them as a roadmap and platform for future targets. It is worth remembering that fiscal rules are not a new phenomenon, with a variety of fiscal policy rules already in place across the European Union and the OECD.
Many in this country were not happy with the way Ireland was allowed to fall into the depths of economic stagnation and regression. We were given a mandate by the people to redress our economic stagnation. When it comes to fiscal responsibility, the Government will carry forward its assigned task to a successful conclusion. The Bill is part of that ongoing work and as a result I have no hesitation in commending it to the House.