Spring is in the air, the season of rebirth and rejuvenation. Michael Noonan is hoping that this week’s statement will generate a little spring like renewal in the fortunes of the Government parties as they set their sights on the general election.

Finance officials are busy downplaying the prospect of any detail in the Ministers address. But at the very least we will get a sense of the Governments economic and fiscal intentions for Budget 2016.

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There was a rare display of consensus in Leinster House this week.

Politicians from all sides of the house spoke in support of the Dunnes Stores workers’ demands for decent hours and earnings, job security and trade union representation.

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Eamonn McCann’s Irish Times articles are an odd thing. His casual disregard for the facts is matched only by his willingness to join the establishment chorus against Sinn Féin.

Writing in the Irish Times on 12 March Eamonn made a number of claims which are just plain wrong.

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Have you ever heard of the expenditure benchmark? Do you know how to calculate a structural deficit? Can you explain the interaction between the debt and deficit rules?

If the answer to these questions is no, don’t worry. You are obviously a well-grounded person with a good work life balance.

If the answer is yes, well you clearly need to get out more.

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Fine Gael and Labour’s economic recovery is a tale of two Ireland’s.

GDP is rising. Bond yields are falling. Property prices are recovering. Jobs are being created. People are even buying new cars.

According to Michael Noonan ‘austerity as we know it is over.’

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Speaking last November at a Sinn Féin Conference in Clondalkin Gerry Adams called for a ‘realignment of Irish politics’.

He said, ‘Let those on the left who really believe that a government without Fine Gael or Fianna Fail is possible, begin working now together towards that end.’
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How unequal is our economy? How does our gap between rich and poor compare to EU and OECD counterparts? Are we following the global trend towards higher income inequality?

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