A 2021 recovery is possible if the right choices are made

Analysis: While we’re in for a rough time, the early signs are that years of painful austerity will not be inflicted again to balance the books

It’s a difficult balancing act to restore the public finances and refloat the economy. But Paschal Donohoe and Michael McGrath have been dealt a better hand than their predecessors.

To get a sense of the scale of the hole in the national coffers facing the Ministers for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform ahead of Tuesday’s budget, it is worthwhile going back in time – to a decade ago, when the country last faced a deficit of the magnitude being stared at by Paschal Donohoe and Michael McGrath.

In 2011, the first year of Michael Noonan’s term as finance minister, the deficit in the ...