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Michael Noonan will do 'whatever it takes' to reach deficit targets

The Minister for Finance ruled out a €2 billion adjustment in Budget 2015

Noonan arriving a meeting of EU finance ministers this morning.
Noonan arriving a meeting of EU finance ministers this morning.

MINISTER FOR FINANCE Michael Noonan has said he no longer believes Ireland will require €2 billion in cuts and tax increases in Budget 2015.

This is despite the International Monetary Fund and the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council both advising the government to stick to the planned cuts.

Speaking to reporters this morning in Luxembourg, Noonan said the Commission and the IMF are looking at outdated information, as previous calculations suggested that it would take a €2 billion adjustment to ensure the deficit falls below 3%.

“Now there’s data coming through,” the minister explained, “some of it soft data, some it anecdotal, which seems to me, we will not require that level of adjustment, but I am not in a position to say how much leeway we’ll have.”

We will get the deficit below 3% by 2015, and no matter what it takes, we’ll do it.

He also noted that while “we were in the programme they had this concept which they sometimes have in Europe about measuring the level of effort you put into things”.

“The volume of the adjustment was important,” the minister said.

Now that we are out of the programme it’s simply like other countries.

He also dismissed the EU Commission’s investigation into Apple’s tax arrangements in Ireland as “old news” since it was discussed in Congress.

“The Commission have not come at it from a tax perspective, they have come at it from a state aid perspective which is a different space, and obviously if they think it’s state aid it has to be investigated,” he said.

“We think it isn’t, we think we will win the case ultimately.”

Read: The IMF is back in town, and it’s not mad on the Government’s mortgage strategy >

More: Spending watchdog tells Government to stick to €2 billion austerity target >

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Nicky Ryan

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