In making my first Estimates Statement to the Dáil, I am aware that my responsibility differs from that of my predecessor in his first year in Office.
Making decisions during this time of crisis was tough.
Due to these choices, I am now in a position to continue, into 2017, the process of reinvestment in Ireland’s future that began in 2014.
This recovery in current spending has been achieved alongside remarkable growth in investment in our economic and social infrastructure of 26 per cent since 2014.
Thanks to the sacrifices of the Irish people, we are back on the pathway to a dynamic economy and a just and fair society.
Fairness is, of course, about the relative distribution of income in society, but it is also about improving services for our people, and treating all members of our community well.
It is about investment in education for all children and improving our health services.
The opportunity for a sustainable, prosperous future must not be squandered by reckless spending or investing poorly.