Minister criticises left-wing politics and policies which could ‘break this country’

The Irish economy is still faced with the threat of overheating and it is critical that dangerous risks are avoided, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe has said.

Speaking at the MacGill Summer School on Tuesday night, the Minister criticised left-wing politics and policies which he said could “break this country”.

“Despite the nasty tone of many in Irish politics, it is my job to cut through the noise and do what is right, not what seems to be right to some people who shout the loudest,” he said.

“I will not risk our hard won economic sovereignty by allowing the economy overheat and succumb to capacity constraints. It would be a disservice, to put it mildly, to all those who depend on public services every day…Instead, I will take a balanced look at the demands made upon me, based upon the resources that are available.”

Mr Donohoe said regardless of Brexit and other challenges the message he brought to the school was “not one of despair or helplessness” but “one of confidence and hope”.

He said that globally there were prospects of “robust growth” with world economic growth estimated at 3.6 per cent next year and 1.8 per cent this year in Europe. “Ireland’s economy is being fixed. And that means we can begin to repair our society too,” he added.

In what appeared to be a reference to recent exchanges between the Taoiseach and Solidarity TD Paul Murphy over the Jobstown protests, Mr Donohoe criticised “a far-left that resists change, and engages in thuggery traditionally associated with the ugly far-right”.

“Nowadays, to be moderate is to be radical,” he said.

Mr Donohoe said that the only way to deliver growth and prosperity was to ensure that the political centre holds.

“The policies of the far left – profligate spending, higher taxes on businesses, a ‘let someone else pay for it’ – would all break this country,” he said.

Regarding October’s budget, Mr Donohoe said “at a time of economic growth, we will strengthen our ability to deal with future shocks. We will continue to get our house in order by eliminating the deficit and getting our national debt down”.

He added: “If you have a small open economy with a currency that it does not print, when things go bad, they can go really bad. When they go well, they can go really well. We will use the benefits of the latter to ease the pain of the former.”

Earlier, Prof Gary Murphy of Dublin City University said Ireland suffers from a “conspiracy of neglect” when it comes to dealing with white collar crime.

“The shrug of the shoulder attitude that the political class have taken towards the whole banker class and those suspected of white collar crime needs to be ditched,” he said during a debate on the urgent need for “real new politics” and strong, effective and focused government.

He added: “It seems to me that whether we want things to change and stay the same or really change will only be decided by a clear-the-air general election within the next number of months.

“And in that election the political class’s relationship with its Civil Service, with powerful interest groups, and its attitude to all the citizens of this State should be interrogated more rigorously than ever before by we the voters.”