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Successful completion of Quarter 3 2011 Review of the EU/ IMF Programme

The Government has successfully concluded its third successive quarterly programme review mission with the EU Commission, the ECB and the IMF.

The purpose of the quarterly review mission has been to evaluate performance against the targets set for the fourth quarter of the Programme of financial support for Ireland. The evaluation including a look at fiscal developments, the macroeconomic outlook, progress on commitments in the restructuring of the financial sector and structural reform. The Government is pleased that the staff mission has assessed the Programme to be on track and all measures in the Programme have been fully implemented.

On welcoming the successful conclusion of the review Minister Noonan stated:

I am pleased that the mission has concluded that the Programme is on track and Ireland is making substantial progress in all the key areas. The restructuring of the banking sector has yielded significant savings on the capital to be invested by the taxpayer (from private sector investment and the liability management exercises) and it has also allowed Irish banks to access international money markets without the use of the guarantee. Furthermore, our tax revenues to date are slightly ahead of profile and we are set to outperform our budget deficit target, as set in the Programme, for 2011.

This Government has been very clear at all times that we are determined to take all the necessary steps to restore our sovereignty. As part of this the Government is committed to making the necessary level of budgetary adjustment in 2012 of at least €3.6 billion to ensure that the 8.6% deficit of GDP target is achieved. My Department and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform are currently assessing all the relevant information and I will shortly set out in the Medium-Term Fiscal Statement the size of the budgetary adjustment that is required over the years 2012-2015 in order to ensure that the General Government deficit is below 3% of GDP by 2015. The relevant tax measures will be announced on Budget day but will be guided by the agreed Programme for Government.

Minister Howlin on the conclusion of the visit stated;

We have made significant progress since taking office; our expenditure for 2011 remains on track and since the last review we have also seen strong Q2 growth in the Irish economy. The consideration of the Estimates for 2012 is ongoing and the outcome will be presented by Government in our newly reformed budgetary process on 1st December. This new approach is a departure from previous budgets and is a more transparent approach to the budgetary process. The public sector pay bill is on target and I expect us to exceed our target for reduction in numbers in the public sector this year.

Over the course of the quarter the Government have undertaken several significant structural reforms including the publication of the Public Service Pensions (Single Scheme) and Remuneration Bill, the Legal Services Regulation Bill and the Competition (Amendment) Bill . The purpose of these Bills is to improve competition and reduce costs

Both Ministers concluded:

We welcome the fact that our programme is on track and the recent reductions in our interest rate have further improved our debt sustainability. The focus now is on delivering the required adjustment for Budget 2012. We will not shy away from the tough decisions that are required but we will make decisions in a fair and equitable way. Full details of this will be announced in line with the timetable set out.