Finance minister McCreevy defends Irish budget

IRELAND - Ireland's Finance Minister, Charlie McCreevy, came before the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee to defend his country's budget, singled out for a reprimand by the Commission and Council for breaching the 2000 Broad Economic Policy Guidelines.

Mr McCreevy painted a positive picture of a budgetary surplus, tax cuts, incentives for savers and a new plan for pensions. This had taken place against a background of an 11% growth rate, but Mr McCreevy said two factors - namely the

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