In response to the call on the Government by the Central Bank today (Friday 26th July) that it sticks to the planned adjustment of €3.1 billion in Budget 2014, SIPTU General President, Jack O’Connor, said: “This is blackmail on a monumental scale. It is quite clear that there is a well-orchestrated campaign by those at the top of the banking system in Ireland and in Europe, who caused the crisis in the first place, to inflict totally unnecessary misery on our society. “The Government must demonstrate the nerves of steel required to face them down. Granted the blackmailers have leverage but we have some too because if our programme fails then their whole project will collapse like a pack of cards. “The breathing space afforded by the Promissory note deal would reduce the adjustment to €2.1 billion. The tax measures carried over from last year’s budget together with the proceeds of the Haddington Road Agreement will account for almost €1 billion. The remaining €1.1 billion should be further reduced by rapidly investing the €6 billion in the Strategic Investment Fund to generate thousands of jobs thus saving significantly on social transfers and increasing tax revenues. He added: “Any remaining shortfall could be filled by relatively minor increases in the tax take from the better off. There is actually no need for any further cuts in public provision.”