Ireland’s fiscal deficit could reach 30 bln euros this year: minister

Ireland’s fiscal deficit for this year could reach 30 billion euros (about 33 billion U.S. dollars) due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has said.

Donohoe made the remarks at a meeting of the Irish parliament’s lower house on the government’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis, according to national radio and television broadcaster RTE.

He told the parliament that about 1.25 million people in the country are now in receipt of income support from the government due to the impact of the pandemic, which he believed is unsustainable in the long run.

He also said that the government can currently raise funds at the market at low interest rates, but warned that the market sentiments could change anytime in the future.

Earlier last month, Donohoe said in a report that the government’s deficit for 2020 is likely to go up to 23 billion euros, which will account for 7.4 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

He said in the report that Ireland’s debt-to-GDP ratio will rise to 69 percent this year, which will be 9 percentage points higher than last year. (1 euro = 1.096 U.S. dollars)