Irish Times

IMF to have role if cuts not made, says Harney

A SENIOR Government Minister last night warned that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will be called in if the Government does not reduce public expenditure by at least 30 per cent.

Minister for Health Mary Harney said yesterday that the State is spending €500 million more each week than it is raising in tax revenues. She was one of a number of Cabinet members who yesterday publicly backed the stark assessment of the economy made by Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan on Thursday night.

“If the Government hasn’t the capacity to do what’s needed, then others will come in, like the IMF, and overnight they will make decisions,” said Ms Harney.

“Then they will immediately start cutting expenditure by maybe 30 or 40 per cent, and that is a fact.”

However, the Department of Finance later played down the likelihood of IMF intervention, pointing out that the fund could only come in if invited and if the Government had exhausted all alternative forms of funding.

“In order for us to avail of the IMF, we would have to invite them in and that would mean we are unable to access any alternative funding,” said a Finance spokesman. “Because we are a member of the euro zone, we are currently in receipt of funding from the European Central Bank and we don’t envisage any assistance from the IMF.”

Full article


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