IRELAND – The Irish finance ministry says sensible management of public finances is key for pensions as the country faces up to population ageing.

“The sensible management of the public finances supports growth in the shorter term and ensures that we can provide for quality public services in the longer term, particularly in the areas of health, pensions and other services associated with the ageing of our population,” the ministry said.

The comments came in Ireland’s 48-page ‘Economic review and Outlook 2004’. “We must continue to manage our public finances in a prudent and responsible manner. Our reputation for fiscal discipline has been hard won.”

It added that the reasons for the “exceptional growth” of the 1990s – such as labour supply and low interest rates, would not be as significant in the future.

“In the future, labour supply will be more reliant on migration flows and increased participation rates than in the past, while interest rates are unlikely to remain at their current historically low levels.”

“Minister Charlie McCreevy has ensured that the Irish economy is now well positioned to take advantage of the upturn in the global economy,” said education minister Noel Dempsey on behalf of the government. McCreevy, credited with the implementation of the National Pensions Reserve Fund, is now in the key role of internal markets commissioner at the European Commission.