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Financial Resolutions 2013

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Budget Statement 2013

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Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan)

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Snippet Contents:

As budget day is a good day for taking stock of where we are, let us do so. In the second half of this year, the National Treasury Management Agency, NTMA, has raised more than €7 billion in the markets. The Bank of Ireland, ESB, Bord Gáis and AIB all have raised funds for the first time in years. This year, the IDA has announced 84 projects set to create 8,650 jobs. The economy grew last year and will grow again this year and next year. There are manifest signs that the country is emerging from the worst of the crisis and that the efforts of the Irish people, despite the hardship, are leading to success.
There are different measures of success, however, and in taking stock of where we are, I would like to examine them. The first measure of success is whether the bailout programme is being fulfilled. It is, as Ireland has fulfilled 160 separate conditions of the programme and has now drawn down more than 80% of the low-cost money available under the programme. We also have made the fiscal, structural and legislative changes that provide the basis for a renewed economy that will lead to job creation. If fulfilling the programme was the only measure of success, then we are successful, but, of course, that is not the only measure. We must go back to the markets at sustainable interest rates. The NTMA has secured access for some of our funding this year but we must be certain of market access as needed. If a return to the markets is the measure of success, I am confident we will achieve this objective but as yet it is work in progress.
For the Government, however, and for the Deputies and Senators who support it, the real measure of success is a growing and developing economy, which provides a fulfilling life and decent standard of living for all our people and a country in which everyone who wants to work has a job and where our public services are unsurpassed in their quality. On the basis of this measure of success, despite the progress made, the country still has a long way to go but the Government is prepared to travel that distance. Today, on budget day, the Government recommits itself to this task and political friends and foes alike should be under no illusion; the Government will not resile from the task in hand. It will not dither or procrastinate but will drive forward to lead this country out of the despair and despondency and lack of self worth in which we found ourselves in March 2011.