ICTU, ESRI issue caution at 2014 deficit target

There is a lack of understanding about the connection between taxation and the provision of public services according to The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) General Secretary David Begg. "People do not associate them at all," he said at the Equality Authority conference in Dublin. "There is a complete disconnect."

ICTU yesterday called on the government to extend the timeframe of its plan to reduce the budget deficit to 3% of GDP by 2014. Mr Begg said excessive austerity measures run the risk of stifling Ireland's economic growth.

Earlier today Mr Begg said: "People need to stop talking about the deconstruction of the Croke Park deal. If this continues this will become a self fulfilling prophecy."

A statement from the ESRI today said it is concerned that attempting to reduce the budget deficit to within the government's timeframe could tip the economy into a deflationary spiral of low growth and high unemployment.

"At the moment you would think that the Barbarians aren't too far from the gates", Mr Begg said today. "What happens now determines what country we have not for the next five years but for the next 50 years."