The Government is fully aware of the scale of the political, economic and diplomatic challenge posed by Brexit. It has been clear and consistent about Ireland’s priorities: minimising the impact on trade and the economy; protecting the Northern Ireland Peace Process; maintaining the Common Travel Area; and influencing the future of the European Union.
Over recent years, Ireland has laid the foundations for a solid and sustained economic recovery. Indicators such as consumer spending and labour market developments are consistent with an economy that is maintaining momentum.
The economic and fiscal policies implemented over recent years have placed Ireland in a stronger position to ensure that the economy will continue to remain competitive in the face of future economic headwinds.
Budget 2019 continued the overall approach of prudent financial management to strengthen the resilience of Ireland’s economy against the backdrop of heightened uncertainty, including from Brexit. It also builds on other Government initiatives, namely:
- investing in the future of the country through Project Ireland 2040, an ambitious and strategic vision for Ireland’s investment in critical infrastructure;
- the opening of new markets for businesses through the Global Ireland 2025 strategy;
- policies to adapt to changes in the world of work - such as artificial intelligence and automation through the Future Jobs Programme, which will be launched early next year.
Budget 2019 will ensure that the economy is prepared for the challenges of Brexit through continued prudent management of the public finances, including through:
- Eliminating the headline deficit;
- Achieving the medium term budgetary objective
- Building up the Rainy Day Fund;
- Reducing the debt burden;
- Investing in infrastructure to boost competitiveness and productivity; and
- Investing in education.
The focus of Government budgetary policy is on having the appropriate fiscal stance. This facilitates the building-up of fiscal capacity which can help mitigate against future negative risks and potential shocks. In an increasingly unpredictable external environment, continued fiscal sustainability remains a priority.
Building on the measures announced in Budgets 2017 and 2018, Budget 2019 will help to ensure that Ireland is in the best possible position to respond to the challenges - and indeed the opportunities - that Brexit will bring. The measures introduced in Budget 2019 continue the process of ensuring that Ireland’s economy remains competitive and resilient against the backdrop of heightened uncertainty, including from Brexit.