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Experts savage Ahern's dodgy policies

BERTIE AHERN and his asleep-at-the-wheel Cabinet ignored repeated warnings that the economy was heading for freefall.

A review of the Department of Finance's performance has found that it advised top Government members that their economic policies were highly risky.

The Wright Report castigates Mr Ahern, who promoted give-away budgets and maintained we were heading for a "soft-landing" -- Mr Ahern complained recently that nobody warned him about the impact of his rogue economic policies.

Three former senior civil servants from Canada, the Netherlands and Ireland, who compiled the report, have recommended major changes to the budgetary process.

Their stark review was published as EU Finance Commissioner Olli Rehn cautioned a potential new coalition government against trying to extend the period for adjusting the public finances to manageable levels.





Necessary

Mr Rehn's spokesman, Amadeu Altafaj, said: "The deal is the deal between the EU, the IMF and the Republic of Ireland. Of course the deal sees an annual review if necessary. There is some room for adjustment, but the headline goals in our opinion should be preserved."

In their election manifesto Labour promised to extend the adjustment period to 2016 compared to Fine Gael's timeline of 2014. Speaking on Newstalk today, Mr Altafaj said it was "not on the agenda" to slow the adjustment period citing a 2014/2015 date as "essential to restore the credibility of the economy". He said it was, "a credible timeline and it's a credible plan" for Ireland to regain the confidence of the market.

hnews@herald.ie