See bottom of page 9 for total government spending in 2011 and 2012 http://www.finance.gov.ie/documents/...anuary2013.pdf With Gross National Income of €128 billion in 2011 according to CSO statistics,government spending is well over half the economy,around 55% to 60%-a levitating public sector! By comparison,the biggest spending countries in Northern Europe,France and Sweden,are around 55% and other northern European advanced economies are around 45%. But unlike Ireland,they provide very generous state benefits-free health care,heavily subsidised day care,plentiful social housing,excellent public transport,free third level education and generous retirement benefits. That takes a lot of pressure off family budgets. This comparison is highly unfavourable to Irish governments which for at least a generation have obviously failed to get value for taxpayers' money.
But to listen to many on the left of politics,the government is a cheapskate.Before demanding more spending,they should demand remedies for the poor record on value for money and delivery of promised services. The main remedy could be a constitutional change that would emphasise the Senate's role in long range strategic planning and holding the Dail to account for that.