Labour Party Pre-Budget Presentations

Before the snow hit, I gave a pre-budget presentation (pretty similar to my UCD presentation from today, though with some additional material on the banks) at a Labour Party pre-budget event. That presentation and three others are available here. Marie Sherlock from SIPTU and John Martin from OECD gave interesting presentations on labour market and training issues and Michael Collins from TCD gave a presentation on tax breaks.

13 replies on “Labour Party Pre-Budget Presentations”

Re: Your slide excerpt below re changing the adjustment mix.
” For instance, government propose €5 billion in tax increases and €10 billion in spending cuts over 2011-2014. This mix could be changed.

Given the very detailed specifications on requirements to ‘force’ people back to work, I am less optimistic than you about Ireland’s scope for changing the mix or indeed any part of this agreement.

On the othe hand, I would concur with the idea of front loading the adjustment, although definitely not in the way the government proposes.
The Europeans seem to understand the importance of the expression “Tus maith, leath na h’oibre” better than the Irish.

So, SIPTU recognizes that we have a lot of young people who went into the construction business and now have few reusable skills. The OECD says that Ireland has one of the world’s biggest unemployment problems, a “debacle” in FAS, and that we shouldn’t expect anything in the short term. So far so bad. No solutions are offered, but recognizing the nature of the problem is a good start.

Then we have Michael Collins using the wonderfully Orwellian term “tax expenditures”. (No reflection on’s a standard term). However, it’s always a bit offputting to hear that the government not taking money from taxpayers counts in the same way as the government giving money to those taxpayers. Am I confused? Whose money is it again?

Anyway, while some “tax expenditures” may be excessive (housing estates in Leitrim, for instance), it’s worth looking at the list of things that attract “tax expenditure” and wondering whether – in general – we should trust an Irish government to look after these things or we let individuals and families control their own money.

Savings and Investment
Age related
Property Investment

The one where most people might accept that damage was caused by tax relief is the property investment category, which is the 3rd smallest one according to Michael Collins numbers.


In your analysis you analyse Irish tax rates in an international context.

But you did not repeat such comparative analysis for either highly paid public servants (such as judges, professors and medical consultants) or for welfare recipients.

Why not ?

@ Cormac

Apologies for not including an analysis of judges, professors or medical consultant salaries.

In future, when I prepare fifteen minute presentations, I will consult with you to make sure that I present everything that you would like to see presented.

Exactly Paul Hunt…..
For people to be talking about default or debt restructuring while these kind of wages are being paid is delusional.

It’s dreamland; but these dreams are encouraged by the last decade of social partnership and by present day excesses such as NAMA paying developers very generous salaries to retain their expertise….



I agree, but I’m still reluctant to encourage what many see as the ‘politics of envy’. I just thought it was useful to draw attention to this bit of reporting in the context of Cormac’s request. The more important point is the one Colm McCarthy made in his Sindo piece about ‘accountability without consequences’. Rather than whacking the salaries of these folks just to make us all feel better I would much prefer if they were compelled to demonstrate to the Dail that the organisations they direct/manage or the activities they pursue do not impose deadweight costs on society and the economy – and to respond in open forum to evidence that that is precisely the case.


Sometime between 8pm and midnight. The Minister starts speaking at 3.45pm; then there’s about two hours for the opposition spokespersons’ speeches in reply, then some other responses, and then a half-hour’s break and after all that…. So the first vote is quite late in the evening. Anyway, if Healy Rae and Lowry vote in favour, as they’re saying they will, it should go through.

Thanks Veronica. As you said, likely to pass easy enough, just trying to figure out when that’ll actually be ‘official’ so to speak.


Do you not get this sense of deja vu – all over again? How many Dail votes have there been since Sep 2008 – budgets, NAMA, etc. – attended by fevered speculation and the Government has sailed through? Looks like being no different this time. And by hanging on so grimly and determinedly they have made things progressively worse, failed to provide responsible governance, extended and deepened the economic pain and pushed voters to contemplate replacing them with even more muddled or misguided governance.

@Paul Hunt:
And, to judge from the lunchtime news on the wireless, special deals for pub owners and sellers of motor-cars as well as complicated systems for lower fees for second and subsequent children. And kid gloves for pensioners, whose economic contribution is minimal.


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