Ireland - Warnings that budget cutbacks will damage society and recovery - October 25, 2010

Government attempts to implement cutbacks in line with European Commission (EC) demands will result in permanent damage to the fabric of society,  general secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU), David Begg, told a conference of economists. Begg said he did “not subscribe to the accepted orthodoxy that the budget deficit must be reduced to 3% by 2014”, as demanded by the European Commission. The ICTU leader said the 2014 deadline was “arbitrary”, adding “more importantly they cannot be attained without doing permanent damage to our economy and the fabric of our society”.  Some days earlier the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) warned the Croke Park agreement may have to be torn up as the economy faces massive cutbacks of € 15 billion to correct the budget deficit: twice the sum agreed by the government and the EC  under the 2014 deadline. ESRI report author Ide Kearney said that unemployment could stay above 10% indefinitely if the economy gets stifled under the burden of budget cutbacks. She suggested the timeframe to correct the deficit to be extended to 2016. Co-author Alan Barrett said not to be convinced that Ireland would further damage its credibility with the markets if a longer adjustment time was negotiated with the EC.



This article was published in the Collective Bargaining Newsletter. It aims to facilitate information exchange between trade unions and to support the work of ETUC's collective bargaining committee. For more information, please contact the editor Maarten van Klaveren, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies (AIAS) You may find further information on the ETUI, and on the AIAS at © ETUI aisbl, Brussels 2009.

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