A good article here by Dan O'Brien Our public debt levels are still growing, even in the midst of these good times I had not realised the full extent of this. In 2017, the Government borrowed €1,000 more than we took in. For 2018, the Government's forecast is for a deficit of €800m instead of the budgeted surplus of €500m We also expect a deficit of €350m for 2019. (But I assume that the Budget will take care of this?) This is despite three big developments Receipts from Corporation Tax way ahead of expectations Much lower than expected debt servicing costs Very strong economic growth In 2000, the economy was booming and tax receipts were pouring in. The then government ran a surplus in that year of 4.5pc of GDP. It then ramped up spending, which coincided with a slowdown in economic growth in Ireland and internationally. By 2002 the public finances were in the red. A swing in the budget balance of 5.4 percentage points took place in just two years. If that happened now Ireland would be running a deficit of almost 6pc in 2020. Such an imbalance would be twice the size of the deficits permitted under the EU's budgetary rules. That would provoke Brussels' wrath and necessitate the sort of fiscal tightening which would be exactly what a slowing economy would not need. But even more seriously it would quickly raise fresh questions about the State's solvency.