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Ireland's finances €3.6bn better than thought - due to accounting error

A figure of €3.6 billion passed between State agencies was accidentally counted twice – creating an accounting error equal to 2.3 per cent of GDP.

IRELAND’S DEBT IS lower than previously thought - because of an accounting error that counted a figure of €3.6 billion twice.

TV3 News has revealed that a payment between two state agencies – the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) and the Housing Finance Agency (HFA) – had been accidentally counted two times. The Department of Finance said that the sum had been counted “as assets in the NTMA accounts and liabilities in the HFA accounts” – creating an accounting error equal to 2.3 per cent of GDP.

While the figure is equal to the cuts projected in the upcoming budget, a spokesperson for the Department told that this would have “no connection” to this year’s budgetary projections because the numbers related to last year’s GNP figures.

Recently, Finance Minister Michael Noonan announced that €3.6 billion may have to be shaved off the budget in order to reduce the country’s deficit to 8.6 per cent of GDP next year.

Noonan is expected to brief the government on the developments at the scheduled meeting of the Cabinet this week. The Medium Term Fiscal Statement will be published on Friday and will contain the latest macroeconomic and fiscal forecasts of the Department of Finance, aimed at informing the government in terms of its ongoing budgetary projections.

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