Fianna Fáil has expressed serious concerns at reports that the cabinet has yet to hold a special meeting to discuss the budget with just two and a half weeks left to budget day.

Commenting on reports in today’s Sunday Independent that the cabinet has yet to hold a special meeting to discuss the budget, Fianna Fáil Finance Spokesperson Michael McGrath stated: “It is deeply worrying and nothing short of extraordinary that the cabinet has yet to hold a special meeting on Budget 2013 with a little over 2 weeks left to budget day. The Economic Management Council is not the government and the government’s budgetary strategy must be underpinned by the principle of collective cabinet responsibility.

“Each cabinet Minister is collectively responsible for the entirety of the budget package and not just budget decisions affecting their own department. Under no circumstances can the Economic Management Council be allowed to usurp the constitutional role of cabinet. The cabinet is not just a forum for rubber-stamping decisions made by the Taoiseach, Tánaiste, Minister for Finance and Minister for Public Expenditure & Reform.

“The absence of any cabinet meetings to discuss the budget is a measure of the complete lack of trust between the government partners. However, the approach of keeping the cabinet in the dark has not stemmed the flow of pre-budget kite flying with a litany of proposed cuts and tax increases already making their way into the public domain.

“The essential point here is that no select group within cabinet can take on the role of making decisions for the full cabinet. Ultimately every member of cabinet will have to take full responsibility for all measures announced on December 5th. All Ministers would be well advised now to ensure they have a meaningful input into all elements of the budget currently being prepared.”