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Labour and Fine Gael junior ministers at odds over Budget 2014 plans

Labour TD Alan Kelly has criticised some colleagues for negotiating on the airwaves and on the front pages of national newspapers.

Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

AS THE GOVERNMENT plans for Budget 2014 more cracks have appeared in the coalition with junior ministers now at odds over negotiations.

Minister of State at the Department of Transport and Labour TD Alan Kelly has criticised his colleagues for “putting budgetary plans out into the press continuously”.

“It is not helpful for government and I think it should stop,” he told Morning Ireland, referring to an interview with Junior Minister Brian Hayes in today’s Irish Examiner in which he reiterated comments made to TheJournal.ie last month that he would like to see the government’s deficit-to-GDP ratio down to around four per cent at the end of next year, below the 5.1 per cent target under the bailout deal.

Kelly said he would not concur with the Fine Gael deputy’s view, stating he does not agree that austerity is the only line that should be taken.

“In fact, I certainly believe that we need to ensure that the savings that were made from the promissory note, in particular, can give some relief to those taxpayers and to the people in the country. Give them some relief and show that we can provide for them,” he added.

“Any savings that can be made, we should less the burden on the ordinary workers and taxpayers who have been through a lot.”

Hayes believes reducing the deficit further would improve Ireland’s reputation, making it easier and cheaper to borrow money through international markets.

Labour TDs and ministers have been arguing for an ease-up in austerity measures, while Fine Gael members want to continue with the mooted €3.1 billion in cuts and taxes.

The IMF and the Central Bank have also told the government to stick to the planned fiscal adjustment.

Budget 2014 will be read on 15 October, two months earlier than usual. Finance Minister Michael Noonan has warned that exact details will not be decided until nearer the day.

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