THE THREE MAIN political parties will conclude their annual think-ins today.
Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fáil are holding two-day meetings of their parliamentary parties at various locations across the country with much of yesterday dominated by talk of the Budget next month.
At his party’s think-in in Portlaoise, Fine Gael Finance Minister Michael Noonan said there may be some leeway in the October 15 Budget but stressed the importance of reaching a primary budget surplus – where the country takes in more than it spends when interest payments are excluded.
After a day of discussions, party members dined at the Heritage Hotel in Killenard last night, where they have been encamped for the last couple of days. This is what they ate:
(Image: Páraig Gallagher)
Labour’s Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Brendan Howlin indicated, at his party’s think-in in Co Meath, that the “overall shape and scope of the Budget” will be decided within the next two weeks.
The government is waiting on a number of key economic indicators including growth figures for the second quarter and projections for next year from the CSO which will be published on Thursday.
It was at Labour’s think-in that Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore also insisted that he will lead his party into the next election which Enda Kenny is reported to have indicated will take place in March 2016, indicating that the government will run its full term.
Today’s think-ins are likely to focus on the forthcoming Seanad referendum and the return of the Dáil tomorrow.
Fianna Fáil’s think-in in Waterford will consider its campaign for a No vote, the Autumn legislative session, pre-budget proposals and its strategy ahead of the local and European elections next May.