Budget watchdog hit back at “slur” from Tánaiste Leo Varadkar over the accuracy of their projections

The state’s budget watchdog accused Tánaiste Leo Varadkar of misrepresentation and a “slur” against their work.

Mr Varadkar had given a weekend RTÉ radio interview in which he said the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council (IFAC) had repeatedly failed to predict the government would run a budget surplus.

In internal emails however, the council’s chair described the Tánaiste’s version of events as “bizarre” and said sometimes they needed to show they will not “be misrepresented without putting up some resistance”.

Another council member described Mr Varadkar’s remarks as a very “weird angle of attack”.

Professor Michael McMahon wrote: “And I’m not sure I would take forecasting advice from the people who bring us budgets that don’t seem to be able to predict Christmas …. :-)”

There’s lots more colourful material in there.

These records were the subject of a decision by the Information Commissioner, which you can read here.

IFAC had claimed they were exempt under Section 29 of the FOI Act covering deliberative processes.

However, Right to Know successfully argued they were not, and that release was not contrary to the public interest (as is obligated by that part of the legislation).