Fiscal Responsibility Act 2012

1.

Interpretation.

1.— (1) In this Act—

“1997 excessive deficit Regulation” means Council Regulation (EC) No. 1467/97 of 7 July 1997 1 as amended by Council Regulation (EC) No. 1056/2005 of 27 June 2005 2 and Council Regulation (EU) No. 1177/2011 of 8 November 2011 3;

“1997 surveillance and coordination Regulation” means Council Regulation (EC) No. 1466/97 of 7 July 1997 4 as amended by Council Regulation (EC) No. 1055/2005 of 27 June 2005 5 and Regulation (EU) No. 1175/2011 of 16 November 2011 6;

“2009 Regulation” means Council Regulation (EC) No. 479/2009 of 25 May 2009 7 as amended by Council Regulation (EU) No. 679/2010 of 26 July 2010 8;

“2012 Treaty” means the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union done at Brussels on 2 March 2012;

“annual structural balance of the general government”, in relation to a year, means the general government deficit or general government surplus for the year, cyclically adjusted and net of one-off andtemporary measures, expressed as a percentage of gross domestic product at market prices;

“Budget”, in relation to a year, means the Financial Statement and associated material presented by the Minister to Dáil Éireann, and the Estimates for Public Services, which set out the Government’s proposals for the year with regard to the raising of tax and other revenues and to public expenditure;

“budgetary rule” shall be construed in accordance with section 3 ;

“cyclically-adjusted” means adjusted to take account of effects estimated to be due to the operation of the economic cycle;

“Estimates for Public Services” means the estimates of expenditure submitted by the Government to Dáil Éireann for approval in relation to supply grants and appropriations-in-aid in respect of supply services for a year;

“European system of accounts” means the European system of national and regional accounts in the Community as provided for under Council Regulation (EC) No. 2223/96 of 25 June 1996 9, as it has effect as amended from time to time;

“exceptional circumstances” means—

( a) a period during which an unusual event outside the control of the State has a major impact on the financial position of the general government, or

( b) a period of severe economic downturn,

within the meaning of the Stability and Growth Pact;

“Fiscal Council” has the meaning given by section 7(1) ;

“fiscal stance” means the change in the annual structural balance of the general government, excluding interest payments on the general government debt expressed as a percentage of gross domestic product at market prices, for a year relative to the preceding year;

“general government”, in relation to the State, shall be construed in accordance with the European system of accounts;

“general government debt”, in relation to a year, means the total gross debt at nominal value of the general government of the State which is outstanding at the end of the year, as arrived at in accordance with the 2009 Regulation;

“general government deficit”, in relation to a year, means the net borrowing of the general government of the State for the year, as arrived at in accordance with the 2009 Regulation;

“general government surplus”, in relation to a year, means the net lending of the general government of the State for the year, as arrived at in accordance with the 2009 Regulation;

“gross domestic product at market prices”, in relation to a year, means gross domestic product of the State for the year at market prices, as arrived at in accordance with the European system of accounts;

“local authority” has the same meaning as in the Local Government Act 2001;

“medium-term budgetary objective” means the medium-term budgetary objective required by the 1997 surveillance and coordination Regulation;

“Minister” means Minister for Finance;

“official forecasts” means the macroeconomic and budgetary forecasts published by the Department of Finance for the purposes of fiscal planning and known as the Spring forecasts and the Autumn forecasts;

“Stability and Growth Pact” means the 1997 surveillance and coordination Regulation, the 1997 excessive deficit Regulation and the Resolution of the European Council of 17 June 1997 on the Stability and Growth Pact 10;

“stability programme” means the stability programme required by Article 3(1) of the 1997 surveillance and coordination Regulation;

“subsector”, in relation to the general government, shall be construed in accordance with the European system of accounts.

(2) A word or expression used in this Act and in the 2012 Treaty has, unless the contrary intention appears, the same meaning in this Act as in the 2012 Treaty.