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Government policy is 'not an austerity strategy', says Howlin

The Minister for Public Expenditure also said economists’ calls to pour resources into a stimulus strategy reminded him of “Fianna Fáil circa 1977″.

Brendan Howlin
Brendan Howlin
Image: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

BRENDAN HOWLIN HAS insisted that that Government is “not pursuing an ‘austerity’ strategy” in its approach to the economic crisis.

The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform said that the Fine Gael/Labour coalition was borrowing large sums of money to protect Irish people’s standard of living. He wrote:

The Government is not pursuing an “austerity” strategy. The opposite is the case.

Writing in the Irish Times, the Minister responded to an open letter from a number of economists warning that continuing austerity measures would lead to economic stagnation.

He said the Government was aiming to support the economy with borrowing, but the “reality” was that only the troika are currently prepared to lend to Ireland, and they would only do so if Ireland demonstrated it was attempting to cut its deficit.

Howlin derided the idea of pouring resources into an “all-or-nothing attempt” to regain economic growth as “more Fianna Fáil circa 1977 than John Maynard Keynes”.

Quoting US president Barack Obama on the need to be “persistent”, Howlin said that there was no “silver bullet” for the economy – though the attempt to find one was understandable, he added.

More: Irish households see greater drop in wealth than other European countries>

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Michael Freeman

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