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Scale of economic problems revealed to parties

Fine Gael and Labour have said that the true scale of the economic crisis has been revealed to them during briefing in recent days – and described the news as “sobering”.

Labour's Joan Burton.
Labour's Joan Burton.
Image: Julien Behal/PA Archive/Press Association Images

THE NEGOTIATING PARTIES from Fine Gael and Labour have described the news they heard from the NTMA and the Department of Finance as “depressing” and by Joan Burton as “sobering”.

After being briefed by the Central Bank Governor Patrick Honohan, the Department of Finance and the National Treasury Management Agency, both parties said that the depth of the economic crisis facing the country has been revealed to them, RTÉ reports.

Meanwhile, the newest exchequer figures show a how a significant drop in VAT returns has led to a €128 million drop in the expected tax take for the year so far, reports the Irish Examiner.

Discussions between the Fine Gael and Labour are set to conclude by the end of the week, however both parties have stressed that negotiations may not reach consensus – and that a coalition is not the only option.

Economic policy will be the major point of contention between the two parties, and talks about the reduction of the national deficit, job creation and the banking crisis have also been covered in recent days, reports the Irish Times.

The Fine Gael negotiation team is supported by policy adviser Andrew McDowell and also includes Alan Shatter, Michael Noonan and Phil Hogan. Meanwhile, Labour’s team has support from policy adviser Colm O’Reardon, and also has Joan Burton, Pat Rabbitte and Brendan Howlin.

Read: Economic warnings repeatedly ignored by Ahern’s government >

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