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Snippet Contents:

To complement the Budget Statement by the Minister for Finance I am announcing the Expenditure Estimates for 2013. This Government continues to face a daunting challenge in repairing the economy and the public finances. Difficult decisions are still required. We are committed to meeting that challenge, and are confident that through good government we can lead Ireland back to independent funding and back to sustainable growth in living standards and in employment. The expenditure adjustments I am announcing amount to just under €2 billion out of an overall adjustment of €3.5 billion. As a result, current expenditure will be reduced to €51.1 billion in 2013, and capital spending to €3.4 billion in 2013. I am very conscious that adjustments of this scale, of necessity, affect everyone. However, we have sought to be fair, protecting the most vulnerable to the greatest extent possible.
Political Reform
The crisis that we are enduring is a result of a series of related failings. Ours is a banking, fiscal and political crisis. It will not be resolved unless all three issues are addressed. That is why the Government established a Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, not merely a Department of public expenditure. This represents the Government’s commitment to more effective and open government. Measures including whistleblowing reform, new freedom of information legislation, the new powers recently conferred on the Ombudsman, legislation to empower the Oireachtas to hold inquiries within the existing constitutional constraints, legislation to bring greater transparency to lobbying activity, and revised ethics legislation in response to the reports of the Moriarty and Mahon tribunals are all at an advanced stage of preparation in my Department. The Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Deputy Hogan, has also announced a programme of radical-----