RTE 1 November 2017 – 12:25:49The Government has been criticised for claiming it could avoid the “fiscal cliff” by “saving the economy from itself”.

It has repeatedly claimed it could not borrow money from the European Central Bank unless the Government cut interest rates, but Finance Minister Michael Noonan admitted the Government’s policy of reducing borrowing was not working.

On Thursday, the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) warned it was “very concerned” about the Government and the Budget and would “take every measure to ensure that it does not cross the fiscal cliff”.

“The Government is using the fiscal year to cut the budget deficit and increase debt,” IBRC chief economist Brendan Howlin said.

“It’s an unprecedented move that has a very significant impact on the economy and is likely to trigger the second stage of the fiscal shock.”

Mr Noonan said Ireland’s Government was “not in a position to take advantage of the extraordinary measures” to reduce the Government debt.

“I am very concerned about the fiscal implications of that decision and how it is going to impact on our economic prospects,” he said.

The Budget has been described as “extraordinary” by the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies.

“If the Government is to keep the lights on for another year, it is necessary to increase the level of debt by an extra €30 billion, with a net increase of €30bn over the next two years,” the Institute said.

Mr Noonon said Ireland was on track to pay off its debt over the coming financial year.

“We are very confident that we can pay off this year’s deficit,” he told RTÉ Radio 1’s Today.

“The government is on track for a balanced budget by the end of this year and we have not had a budget deficit in the past 10 years.”

Mr Howlin warned Ireland’s credit rating was “substantially downgraded” from “A-plus” to “C-plus”.

“It is not surprising that, given the fact that the Government has a fiscal plan that involves the elimination of the deficit and the removal of the impact of the current account deficit, the rating agency is very concerned,” he added.

Mr Howlins comments come as a new report by the IFS has revealed a rise in the country’s borrowing and borrowing costs since the budget was announced last month.

The report also found that the country has already paid off a further €4.6bn of its debt in the last 12 months.

Mr Whylin said the Government was taking “extra measures” in the Budget, including cutting public spending.

“This Government has made an extraordinary decision to reduce its borrowing, and this is going into effect today,” he explained.

“Our Government is taking measures to ensure this does not happen again.

It’s an extraordinary and very significant fiscal decision.”

Meanwhile, Irish banks have reported a record high borrowing of €5.6 billion in the first quarter of the year.

The IBRC has also warned that the debt situation will continue to worsen as debt repayments to private holders grow by €4 billion.

The Government said it was not in a “financial position” to meet its debt obligations, and had only enough cash to repay €8 billion of the €20 billion it has already borrowed.

Irish Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said there was no intention to raise the countrys debt ceiling in the next Budget.

“There is no intention at this stage to raise our debt limit, or any debt ceiling, in the future,” he announced.

“That is the job of the next Government.”

Mr Donoho said he expected the Government to announce a “final position” on the Budget on Friday, but there were no immediate plans to introduce a new Budget.