Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Questions (207)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

207. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the consideration he has given to using the proceeds from the sale of Irish Life, for a stimulus package aimed at reducing unemployment. [9828/13]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

As was announced last week, the sale of Irish Life was a welcome development, representing the first time during the crisis that a company in which we have invested has been returned fully to private ownership. The sale of Irish Life, while benefiting the Exchequer by an estimated €1.3 billion, has a negligible impact on the General Government Balance (GGB) and I would like to make it clear that it is in GGB terms that our annual fiscal targets under the EU/IMF Programme are set.

Accordingly, directing a large amount of funds for expenditure on a stimulus package, equivalent to the amount of proceeds raised through the Irish Life sale, would have a severe negative impact on the 2013 GGB. This would most likely result in the State missing its annual deficit target and would endanger the economic recovery experienced to date.

The Government recognises that improving labour market conditions represents its biggest challenge, and, accordingly, is giving priority to job protection, job creation and supporting the unemployed. In this regard, the Minister for Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation recently published the 2013 Action Plan on Jobs, which seeks to address this important challenge.