Tuesday’s report from the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council (IFAC) coincided with an estimate from Eurostat that Ireland’s rate of consumer price inflation has topped 8%. There was little new in the report – IFAC has been warning about risks to public finances for some time and stressed again the reliance on corporation tax. About one-fifth of all tax revenue comes from corporation tax; much of it from a handful of multinationals. Those operations include routing through Ireland taxable profits that do not arise from real economic activity here but rather from exploiting, perfectly lawfully, loopholes in the tax codes in other jurisdictions, principally the US, which permit profits to be taxed at the lower rate applicable in Ireland.

This flow of Exchequer revenue has grown rapidly and has exceeded expectations in recent years. IFAC fears that it could dry up some day and that the public finances are therefore not quite as healthy as they appear to be. It worries too about meeting upward pressure on spending to pay for climate policies and for the Slaintecare reforms in the health service, which have not been fully costed.