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Extracts from the studio.

THIS is the full transcript of Taoiseach Brian Cowen's conversation with Cathal Mac Coille on Morning Ireland...

Cathal Mac Coille: Thanks for coming over before breakfast. Now, we all expected EUR3billion of cuts in one shape or another in the Budget. Now we hear it may be more. What's going on? Brian Cowen: There's nothing going on it's just Br.. the Minister for Finance is clarifying the fact that EUR3 billion is eh, is at least the figure we have to deal with.

What the whole estimates campaign will be about is em, as they begin now, is as he speaks to ministers dealing with that issue and ensuring the markets are very clear eh, and European Commission and our own electorate are very clear that this.. this is the range of eh, adjustment that has to be dealt with.

CMacC: You have the markets, Brussels, the IMF who have been criticising the Government for not being more specific about what's coming and in the middle of all of this the Government says, 'EUR3billion is indicative, it might be more, it might be the same'. Are you softening us up? BC: No, well I.. I think it's important and we've been discussing this here on our own thinking and to recognise the strengths of the economy as well as we as we try to ensure that we deal with the fiscal problem and.. and.. and.. There's no question but that any government has to close the gap between what's spent and what's coming in.

"That it's not a sustainable position and people understand that actually and know it eh.. but wha what I've been emphasising is and what I'm involved in emphasising is the strengths of the economy. We stabilised the situation. Our budgetary plans are on target ehh..

CMacC: But we don't know what they are. It was going to be EUR3billion now it might be more.

BC: No! I think.. CMacC: You know about the need for certainty and you know the difficulties in relation to Anglo and here you are or your Finance Minister coming in and, you know, opening the door to who knows what. It could be three billion it could be four.

BC: No, no, I think the media are wi wi wi wi wi with respect the media are getting into word games here and eh, it's important we avoid them. What we're talking about is dealing with the EU plans that we have to cut our deficits in line with what was said and as Brian Lenihan has been saying eh, the minimum of what we're talking about is three billion euros.

He's now entering an estimates campaign with his ministers with is he's eh setting out very clearly the shi the seriousness of our intent eh and should there be any doubt about eh either at home or abroad that this Government is not committed to dealing with the plans. CMacC: Would like to, would you hope to cut more if you could? BC: Unfortunately I've been looking at the eh, at the Fine Gael policy as far as I can decipher than others and indeed eh, and they would suggesting that the adjustment would be on on the ... . side totally eh, that they wouldn't be..

CMacC: Would you cut more than three billion if you could if that was feasible? BC: We will do whatever is necessary to ensure that fiscal stability is returned to the to the country. It won't be done overnight.

CMacC: Can you rule out anything, by the way? Could you rule out four billion? BC: Eh we're not talking about em ehh, adjustments of that nature. What we're talking about is ensuring that people understand that this Government is determined to meet the agreements it has reached with the European Commission eh, and to do so in a way that is credible and makes sure that we deal with the deficit.

CMacC: So in rough terms are we talking three, three and a half billion? BC: Sorry, look Cathal y.. you're long enough in the game to know when we're starting our estimates campaign the Finance Minister is making it very clear that three billion euro is not an illusory figure it's fact.

CMacC: And it won't be four? BC: I don't expect it will be four billion, because but I don't mean eh, I don't want to be emm, anticipating or pre-empting discussions which are about to take place with ministers.

CMacC: When are we going to see the kind of flexibility, the mobility that big changes in the way the civil service, public service works that that Croke Park agreement promised? BC: What's going to happen now is eh what people need to know is for eh, for next year we're we're being in discussions at the moment as what our budgets will be for next year.

"We have to do align the estimates with the industrial relations agenda and what that'll involve is where every department will be setting out based on the f f on the amount it'll be able to have next year "Eh it will be it will be dealing with it's own eh management and its own personnel and its own staff overcoming explaining that simply t we have to get more from less. We we want to avoid eh impacting on those who require the services. CMacC: But when is the question Taoiseach? BC: During the course of this estimates campaign that we'll be ending up with a si.. a situation where the allocations that will be made will require the implementation in many respects of the Good Frid...eh sorry the Croke Park agreement which is about redeployment, work practices CMacC: The revised programme for Government to bring in legislation on corporate donations.

When are we going to see it? BC: And again that is that is legislation that's in place or sorry that is legislation that is in preparation eh the whole question of dealing with that eh is under consideration.

CMacC: Are corporate donations going to be banned as the Greens said they want? BC: Of co.. well I mean eh.."
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 15, 2010
Words:1027
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