Ireland's Budget Shows the Country is On Track, Barely

Ireland announced its 2014 budget on Tuesday, outlining spending cuts and tax increases meant to put the country on a path to exit its bail-out programm by the end of this year. Ideally, Ireland will be able to fund itself sustainably through international markets.

"We are well on course to do this and as the economy continues to grow and jobs continue to be created, we have a fair wind on our backs to achieve our objectives and restore our sovereignty," said Irish finance minister Michael Noonan said his speech announcing the budget. 

Measures include government spending cuts on programs like the jobseeker's allowance, an increase on savings tax and a new bank levy. Plus, additional taxes will be placed on prescription drugs as well as beer, wine and cigarettes according to a report in The Irish Times. 

While these put the country in a good situation, it's not exactly clear sailing, according to Jonathan Loynes, Chief European Economist at Capital Economics.

"Ireland's 2014 Budget presented an apparently conducive backdrop for the country's exit from its euro-zone support programme later this year," he wrote in a report. "But Ireland's post bail-out prosperity is not yet assured."

The budget included a scaled back goal for fiscal tightening over the next year. While their original target was 3.1 billion Euros worth of cuts, it now stands at 2.5 billion for 2014.

Another issue is that Ireland is heavily dependent on many uncertain factors and other countries. Besides its domestic challenges, there is still the possibility of problems due to the Euro-Zone crisis, as well as with the United States -- upon which Ireland is heavily dependent.

"There is a clear risk of weaker growth with adverse effects on public finances," Loynes wrote.

Despite this, it looks like Ireland will be able to exit its bail-out by the end of this year, but it won't be easy.

"The post bail-out path could be a bumpy one and the country's fiscal and economic health inside the single currency union is still far from secure," Loynes wrote. 

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