Economic & Fiscal

Pictured: Economic colleagues with Rory Malone, 2016 Economic Policy Competition Winner



Who We Are & What We Do

John McCarthy, Chief Economist

The Economic Division is responsible for assessing and advising on Irish economic and fiscal developments.  The Division is also responsible for the provision of rigorous analytical support to the Minister and wider Department on a broad range of economic and budgetary policy matters, as well as the production and co-ordination of the annual Budget.

To achieve these objectives, the Division is organised in four units, each headed by a Principal Officer:


Macroeconomic analysis and forecasting unit

Feargal Ó Brolcháin

This unit monitors and advises on developments in the Irish economy.  It has responsibility for the preparation of short- and medium-term forecasts of the Irish economy which are published twice-yearly in the Stability Programme Update (April) and the Macroeconomic Outlook (October, as input to the annual Budget).  It has the lead role in the co-ordination of the biennial survey of the Irish economy by the OECD.


Fiscal policy and statistics unit

John Palmer

The Fiscal Policy Unit has responsibility for analysing and advising on Irish fiscal developments, outlook and policy.  Short- and medium-term revenue projections, as well as deficit and debt forecasts are compiled in this unit which also has responsibility for overall co-ordination and preparation of the annual Budget.  The unit also provides advice on legal obligations relating to the fiscal rules and statistical classification issues.


Economic strategy unit

David Hegarty

This unit provides analytical support to the wider Department on economic issues.  In-depth economic analysis of taxation policies, including the evaluation of tax expenditures, is undertaken.  The unit provide advice on the distributional effects of budgetary policies in support of evidence-based policy-formation.  It is also responsible for the provision of advice on sectoral issues, and for monitoring and assessing developments in the housing sector.


Economic research unit

Brendan O'Connor

The Economic Research Unit conducts policy-relevant economic research that support the Minister and Department in achieving strategic goals.  This unit is responsible for modelling the Irish economy using a suite of econometric models (some of the work is conducted jointly with researchers in the ESRI).  A key work-stream in this unit relates to assessing the Irish economic implications of Brexit.  This unit also houses the Department’s productivity section.

For futher information see


Fiscal Monitor

  • An Exchequer surplus of €3,366 million was recorded to end-July 2017. This compares to a surplus of €862 million in the same period last year. This year-on-year improvement of €2,505 million is primarily due to the recent sale of over 28% of the State’s shareholding in AIB.
  • Tax revenues for the month of July closed the month just 2.6% or €119 million below target. As a result, cumulative tax revenue is just 0.8% or €230 million below profile, which represents a solid year-on-year increase of 4.5% or €1,201 million.
  • Overall, total net voted expenditure to end-July 2017, at €25,507 million, was 0.9% or €244 million below target, but up 4.7% or €1,138 million in year-on-year terms. 





Stability Programme Update

This Update of Ireland’s Stability Programme takes account of Budget 2017 and other Government initiatives. It is Ireland’s national medium-term fiscal plan and includes an update of the economic and fiscal outlook. This document was submitted to the European Commission on 28 April 2017 in accordance with the requirements of the European Semester. It was presented in draft form to Dáil Éireann on 11 April prior to submission. The document incorporates horizontal guidance provided by the European Council to Member States in December 2016 and March 2017 as part of the discussions on the Annual Growth Survey. It has been prepared in line with the September 2012 guidelines on the format and content of Stability and Convergence programmes. This document should be read in conjunction with Ireland’s National Reform Programme (NRP) 2017, which sets out policies being advanced in response to challenges identified by the European Commission in its Country Report on Ireland, and which reports on progress towards our Europe 2020 Strategy targets.


Monthly Economic Bulletin

Watch Justin Flannery on MEB for August 2017

The Department’s Monthly Economic Bulletin (MEB) provides a monthly update of some of the key developments within the Irish economy across a broad spectrum of sectors. The bulletin also outlines fiscal developments for the State, as well as being a source of the Department’s most up-to-date forecasts and providing a snapshot of conditions in some of Ireland’s key trading partners. This publication is designed with the aim of being both informative and accessible to a wide readership. The MEB can be used as a research aid or for presentational purposes.





Annual Report on Public Debt in Ireland 2017 - published 6th June 2017

Ireland's Economy and Finances Report Card - published 10th March 2017

Budgetary Statistics 2016 - published 9th January 2017


Research Working Papers

Staff in the economic division regularly produce working papers that explore and analyse macroeconomic, microeconomic and fiscal issues to help inform policy formation. The analysis and views set out in these working papers are those of the authors only and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Finance or the Minister for Finance.


Implications of Behavioural Economics for Tax Policy 

Authors: Jean Acheson and Donal Lynch, July 2017

UK EU Exit – An Exposure Analysis of Sectors of the Irish Economy

Authors: Donal Smith, Mike Fahy, Brian Corcoran and Brendan O'Connor, March 2017. Note: This paper is an update of a previous version of the paper that was published with Budget 2017 on 11 October 2016. Following publication of the October 2016 version, the CSO released updated data which is now included in the revised paper.


Forecasting Trade Deflators in Ireland

Authors: Javier Papa and John Harnett, December 2016

Role of evidence in tax policy and tax expenditure evaluation

Authors: David Hegarty and Donal Lynch, December 2016

Economic Evaluation of the R&D Tax Credit

Authors: Jean Acheson and Rory Malone, October 2016

Analysis of recent property price developments and implications for Local Property Tax liabilities and revenue yield

Authors: Brendan O’Connor and Donal Lynch, Administration Journal, Volume 64, No 1, May 2016



Literature Review Of The Economic Effects of Corporation Tax

Authors: Brendan O’Connor and Terence Hynes, part of the Economic Impact Assessment of Ireland’s Corporation Tax Policy, October 2014

Economic Impact of the Foreign-Owned sector in Ireland

Authors: Brendan O’Connor, Shane Enright and Mary Dalton, part of the Economic Impact Assessment of Ireland’s Corporation Tax Policy, October 2014

Quantification of the Economic impacts of selected structural reforms in Ireland

Authors: Brendan O’Connor, Laura Weymes, Terence Hynes, David Hegarty, Matt McGann and Niamh Callaghan, July 2014

An Economic Approach to Evaluate the R&D Tax Credit

Authors: Brendan O’Connor and Terence Hynes, May 2014



The Impact of the Patent Cliff on Pharma-Chem Output in Ireland

Authors: Mary Dalton and Shane Enright, October 2013

The Structure of Ireland’s tax system and options for growth enhancing reform

Author: Brendan O'Connor, The Economic and Social Review, Volume 44, No. 4, Winter 2013

Measuring the impact of the Jobs Initiative: Was the VAT reduction passed on and were jobs created?

Author: Brendan O'Connor, Administration Journal, Volume 60, No. 4, March 2013


Joint Papers

Economists in the Department collaborate with experts in other government departments, external organisations and academia and produce joint work.  The analysis and views set out in joint papers are those of the authors only and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Finance or the Minister for Finance.


Income Tax Revenue Elasticities in Ireland: an Analytical Approach, Research Series No.59

Authors: Jean Acheson (DoF) , Yota Deli (ESRI) , Derek Lambert (ESRI)  , Edgar Morgenroth (ESRI), March 2017


COSMO: A new COre Structural MOdel for Ireland, Working Paper No. 553

Authors: Adele Bergin (ESRI), Niall Conroy (ESRI), Abian Garcia Rodrigueza (ESRI), Dawn Holland (ESRI), Niall McInerney (ESRI), Edgar Morgenroth (ESRI) and Donal Smith (DoF), February 2017


Scenarios and Distributional Implications of a Household Wealth Tax in Ireland

Authors: Martina Lawless (ESRI) and Donal Lynch (DoF), November 2016

Modelling the Medium to Long Term Potential Macroeconomic Impact of Brexit on Ireland 

Authors: Adele Bergin (ESRI), Abien Rodriguez (ESRI), Niall McInerney (ESRI), Edgar Morgenroth(ESRI), Donal Smith (DoF), November 2016

Searching for the Inclusive Growth Tax Grail: The Distributional Impact of Growth Enhancing Tax Reform in Ireland

Authors: Brendan O'Connor, Terence Hynes, David Haugh (OECD), and Patrick Lenain (OECD), The Economic and Social Review, Volume 47, No 1, Spring 2016


External Presentations

Economic staff in the Department of Finance regularly present their own research, and to inform the public and to engage with experts in national and international external organisations and agencies. The analysis and views set out in such presentations are those of the authors only and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Finance or the Minister for Finance.


Opening Statement to Budget Oversight Committee

Presenter:  John McCarthy, Chief Economist, Department of Finance, 14 June 2017

Economic and Fiscal outlook Presntation to Credit Suisse

Presenter: John McCarthy, Chief Economist, Department of Finance, 14 June 2017

BREXIT: The Trade Eeposures of Sectors of The Irish Economy in a European Context

Presenters: Mike Fahy, Donal Smith, Gavin Murphy, and Brendan O’Connor, Economics Division,  Department of Finance [WORK-IN-PROGRESS ] Presentation to IGEES Annual Conference,  8 June 2017

Multi-factor productivity: Experimental estimates 1999-2004

Presenter: Luke Rehill, CSO, Presentation to IGEES Annual Conference,  8 June 2017

Human Capital Production Function

Presenter: Martina Nacheva, Department of Finance, Presentation to IGEES Annual Conference,  8 June 2017

Economic and fiscal outlook

Presentation by Chief Economist to pay talks, 22 May 2017

SPU 2017 Economic outlook

Presenters: John McCarthy and Macroeconomic Analysis and Forecasting Unit, Presentation to the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council, 31st March 2017

UK EU Exit – An exposure analysis of sectors of the Irish Economy

Presenters: Donal Smith, Mike Fahy, Brian Corcoran, Brendan O’Connor, Low Pay Commissions Information Day, 9th March 2017

Irish Water – Department of Finance role

Presenter: John McCarthy, Chief Economist at Joint Oireachtas Committee on Future Funding of Irish Water, January 2017


Household Wealth in Ireland and Potential Impact of a Wealth Tax

Presenters: Donal Lynch (DoF), Martina Lawless (ESRI), November 2016

Income Tax Volatility

Presenters:  Jean Acheson (DoF), Yota Deli (ESRI). Department of Finance Tax Policy Conference, November 2016

International Impact of Financial Shocks

Presenter: Donal  Smith, October 2016

The Budgetary Process in Ireland – recent changes and future evolution

Presenter: John McCarthy, Chief Economist at PAII conference, May 2016

Tackling imbalances, risks and adjustment – the Irish experience

Presenter: John McCarthy, Chief Economist at European Commission conference, Lisbon, April 2016

Forecasting prices in a low inflation environment. A disaggregated approach over the short term

Presenters: John Harnett and Javier Papa, March 2016



Department of Finance Tax Expenditure Evaluation Guidelines and Housing Market Incentives

Presenters: David Hegarty and Alan Barrett (ESRI), Tax Policy Conference, November 2015

Distributional Impact of Growth Enhancing Tax Reform

Presenters: Brendan O'Connor, Terence Hynes and David Haugh (OECD), Tax Policy Conference, November 2015

Fiscal consolidation and structural reforms – the Irish experience

Presenter: John McCarthy, Chief Economist at German Finance Ministry conference, Berlin, March 2015



Fiscal rules and the structural balance – the case of a small, open economy

Presenter: John McCarthy, Chief Economist at Bruegel conference, Brussels, November 2014

Dublin Economic Workshop, Economic Growth Impacts of Structural Reforms in Ireland

Presenters: Brendan O’Connor and Laura Weymes, October 2014

European Evaluation Society, Evaluation of Tax Expenditures in Ireland

Presenters: Brendan O’Connor and Donal Lynch, October 2014

Economic Impact of Foreign-Owned Sector in Ireland

Presenters: Brendan O’Connor & Shane Enright, Tax Policy Conference, October 2014

Observations on the 2014 Country-Specific Recommendations to Ireland

Presenter: John McCarthy, Chief Economist at IIEA-European Commission seminar, Dublin, June 2014. You can also watch John's presention here.

The Irish financial assistance programme – entry, exit and lessons learned

Presenter: John McCarthy, Chief Economist at Nicosia Economic Congress, Nicosia, May 2014

Economic Governance post-Troika – implications for Ireland

Presenter: John McCarthy, Chief Economist at European Commission Conference, Dublin, March 2014



Dublin Economic Workshop, The structure of Ireland’s tax system and options for growth enhancing reform

Presenters: Brendan O’Connor, October 2013