The latest estimates from the ESRI of the negative impact on the Irish
economy of all Brexit scenarios underline the folly of Fine Gael making a
€2.3bn tax promise at a time of such deep uncertainty facing our country,
according to Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Finance Michael McGrath.

Deputy McGrath commented, “The only specific commitment from the Taoiseach in
his address to the Fine Gael Conference at the weekend was a re-hash of last
year’s promise of a €2.3bn income tax cut. This was an irresponsible promise to
make in light of the deep uncertainty facing our country at this time as a
result of Brexit.

“Depending on the outcome of Brexit in the days and weeks ahead, the reality is
that implementing such a promise may prove to be completely unaffordable. The
Taoiseach, the Minister for Finance and their teams of advisors should know
this.

“The ESRI paper today sheds further light on the impact of three different
Brexit scenarios on the Irish economy over a two-year, five-year and ten-year
horizon. The key point is that the estimated impact on Ireland is worse than
was previously thought.

“Even the benign scenario of the UK leaving the EU in an agreed manner,
followed by a transition period and subsequently a free trade deal, will have
major negative consequences for our economy. Today’s numbers also mask the fact
that the impact on the regions and on certain sectors such as agriculture would
be far worse than the headline figures.

“In 2016, Fine Gael made a €4bn tax promise to abolish the USC – a promise they
abandoned once in government. Once the outcome of Brexit is clear and in
advance of a general election, Fianna Fáil will set out a balanced overall
package including tax reforms and a commitment to improve the day-to-day public
services the public relies on. We won’t be getting involved in an auction with
Fine Gael by making irresponsible promises at a time when we are in the dark as
to what Brexit road lies ahead.”