The most striking aspect of the summer economic statement is the profound shadow cast on the country by the 31 October deadline for Brexit. The statement sets out two radically different budget scenarios, namely, scenario A on page 25 and scenario B on page 26, which is unprecedented. The priority in scenario A – an orderly Brexit outcome – remains the avoidance of overheating. The report refers to avoiding adding fuel to the flames. However, one wonders how we can continue to ramp up housing output if this is the primary requirement in that scenario. The level of growth in this scenario is expected to be 3.3%.
This week I have been putting the finishing touches to the next edition of my Northsider newsletter (Vol 26 No 2) and hope to have it delivered to my constituents during late July.
On Tuesday afternoon, I attended the meeting of the Budgetary Oversight Committee where we heard from representatives from ICTU, ESRI, TASC, Social Justice Ireland and the Dublin Chamber of Commerce. Later that evening, I represented the Independents4Change Technical Group at a dinner with religious leaders from different faiths on the invitation of the Ceann Comhairle.
I am grateful for the brief opportunity to comment on the summer economic statement. Last weekend there were reports that Fine Gael was trying out various general election slogans, such as Let Leo Lead On, based on the Seán Lemass slogan of the 1960s, but listening to the bluster and barefaced attempts this morning by the Taoiseach to rewrite history in response to Deputy Pearse Doherty’s question on this document, a more appropriate slogan might be You Just Can’t Believe Leo, or something more illiterate in that regard. The Taoiseach, of course, ignored his own vote for the blanket bank guarantee which wrecked our State finances and provided continuous support for savage cuts and austerity measures alongside Fianna Fáil since 2008. Shamefully, this included his own disastrous stint in the Department of Health.