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Cowen writes to opposition seeking budget consensus

This is not a time for business as usual – either in politics or in the economy, says the Taoiseach.

THE TAOISEACH HAS written to the main opposition parties, inviting them to meet for talks aimed at coming to a cross-party budget agreement.

The government has announced plans to cut the country’s budget deficit to 3 per cent of gross domestic product by 2014 – from an expected 32% of GDP this year due to the cost of the bank bailout.

How the government will manage to save and cut enough to meet this target will come down to the four-year budget plan, due to be announced later this year. In his letter, Cowen admitted that Fianna Fáil did not have a “monopoly on wisdom” that every sensible and viable proposal needs to be considered.

He also stated that the people of Ireland “understand that this is not a time for business as usual, either in politics or in the economy”.

Cowen said that reaching the target of 3 per cent of GDP was “absolutely essential not only to achieve stability, but to enable us to convince lenders and investors that our funding needs now, and over the four years ahead, can be met with confidence”.

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