This New Irish Four Year Plan May Only Last A Few Months

Fine Gael says it will not be bound by the terms of the government’s four year budget plan published earlier today, and says it has been given permission by the European Commission to renegotiate its terms if it enters government.

Reuters reports that Michael Noonan, the party’s finance spokesman, told reporters he was “pleased that the Commission has agreed that any or all of this document can be renegotiated.”

Therefore, he said, Fine Gael would not feel itself bound by the individual measures outlined in the plan – though he did not state whether the party would still try to implement €15bn in Budget adjustments over the next four years if it was to come to power.

Party leader Enda Kenny added, RTÉ reports, that the party would publish its own version of the Budgetary strategy next week.

At the announcement of the plan earlier this evening, Brian Lenihan said he expected the measures outlined in the plan to form the basis of the general election campaign whenever it takes place, with that general election set to take place once the legislative basis of the Budget has been passed.

Brian Cowen today refused to give any indication of when he believed the election could be called, but said yesterday he hoped the Budget would be fully enacted by mid-February.

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