Thursday, 20 June 2019

Questions (13)

Bernard Durkan


13. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the extent to which he through the medium of public expenditure and reform continues to influence the repayments of the debt accrued during the economic crash; if the performance here compares favourably with other European economies similarly affected; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25818/19]

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Oral answers (3 contributions) (Question to Public)

I will make no opening remarks and will accept the Minister's reply.

As indicated in our annual report on debt last year, while our debt to gross domestic product ratio has been declining, this is primarily due to an increase in national income, rather than a reduction in the debt itself. At the end of 2018, our debt ratio as a percentage of GDP was 64.8%. Measured by GNI*, that figure was 107%. The Department of Finance suggests that Ireland will meet the target of a debt to national income ratio of below 60%, as required under the Stability and Growth Pact, in 2020.  In terms of debt as a percentage of national income, Ireland ranks 13th among the EU 28 countries for 2018.

To provide a basic summary, if our national income is measured in terms of gross domestic product, we are doing well. The debt to national income ratio is falling and will continue to fall, but we need to be aware that gross domestic product is not always the most accurate way to measure our national income. When account is taken of gross national income the figures appear in a different light. That is the basis upon which we are acting.

I thank all Members and the Ministers for their co-operation in getting through as many questions as possible.

Written Answers are published on the Oireachtas website.