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Rabbitte says cabinet’s budget negotiations will be ‘extremely difficult’

The Minister for Communications believes that the government should go no further then cutting €3.6 billion in the forthcoming budget.

Pat Rabbitte
Pat Rabbitte
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

THE MINISTER FOR Communications Pat Rabbitte has said that negotiations at cabinet level over the forthcoming budget will be “extremely difficult” amid reports of a rift in government over the scale of cutbacks.

Although Ireland is required to cut €3.6 billion under the terms of its EU/IMF loans, the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council this week recommended that the government carry out budget adjustment of €4 billion in order to achieve a deficit target of below 3 per cent of GDP by 2015.

However, Rabbitte yesterday indicated that the government should stick to the €3.6 billion target in his view, reports the Irish Times.

That appeared to go against the words of Minister for Finance Michael Noonan who is open to cutbacks of more than €3.6 billion if so required in order to reduce the deficit to 8.6 per cent of GDP next year.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Rabbitte said negotiations would be tough but reaffirmed that it would be counter productive and detrimental if more than €3.6 billion is cut.

He said:

It’s going to be extremely difficult. It’s very easy to rhyme off figures and say we should go for more than planned and all the rest.

You sit around the table on the figures in front of you in social welfare, in health, in education, in justice and see how difficult it is to bring home what we have committed to.

Rabbitte has previously said that the forthcoming budget will be “extremely painful” while Taoiseach Enda Kenny said last month that “everything is on the table” when it comes to determining how the adjustments can be made.

Read: Social welfare could be cut by up to €1bn >

Budget 2012: read more of TheJournal.ie’s coverage >

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Hugh O'Connell

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