Looking Back

We're being promised lots of shiny things - but here's what WON'T be in Budget 2016

The past is a foreign country, they say.

TRAINS TO THE Airport… Cuts to the USC…

We’ve been promised all sorts of shiny things by the government in the run up to Budget 2016.

Michael Noonan and Brendan Howlin seemed pretty pleased last month as the tax take for the first nine months of the year was announced – but stuck to their script in terms of promising that there will be “near €1.5 billion” in extra spending for next year.

We know we’ll be getting a cut of at least 1% in the hated Universal Social Charge – and of course ministers of every hue (well, red and blue) have been flying their kites since early summer.

Still, small beans compared to what was being announced in the Budget 10 years ago…


Here’s what Brian Cowen had to tell the Dáil when he rose to give a ‘longer than usual’ Budget speech, on 7 December 2005:

  • A €1.1 billion increase in social welfare. 
  • That included: an extra €14 a week for the contributory old age pension. 
  • €16 a week for the non-contributory pension. 
  • €17 a week for all other personal social welfare rates. 

A five-year strategy for childcare, including a new payment of €1,000 a year for every child under the age of six, was also announced.

And Cowen outlined a €900 million package to take minimum wage workers out of the tax net and ensure people earning the average industrial wage would only pay the standard rate*.

cowen2 Oireachtas Oireachtas

“We are living in the midst of the longest and strongest era of sustained prosperity in all of Irish history,” Cowen said.

“This didn’t happen by chance. This involved careful planning.”


Responding, Richard Bruton and Joan Burton drew attention to broken Fianna Fáil promises to double child benefit, made in 2000 – while Burton added that giving €1,000 a year to parents paying €724 for a creche each month was wholly inadequate.

The chief political correspondent of the Irish Times wrote the next day that there were “no banana skins, nothing silly to enrage anyone, and all political bases were covered”.

This was against the background, Mark Brennock added, of FF poll numbers that refused to budge upwards, “the election getting closer and the long, slow political death of Ivor Callely” playing out throughout the day.

File Photo Former senator Ivor Callely has won a High Court action challenging a decision to refuse him early release from a five month prison sentence imposed over fraudulently claiming Oireachtas expenses. The court ruled his application for enhanced re Ivor Callely Sam Boal Sam Boal

The 2006 announcement was the second of four Budgets delivered by Cowen before he took over the Taoiseach’s chair from Bertie Ahern, and Brian Lenihan took over at the Department of Finance.

His previous announcement had included a 9% (€3.7 billion) increase in spending. The pre-election ’2007’ package allowed for a reduction in the top rate of tax to 41%, on top of more social welfare rises.

We all know what happened later, of course…

In fact, we summed it up in last year’s Budget Eve (Eve) ten-year lookback, so we’ll spare you the pain of having to go through yet another recap of those post-Tiger years.


By way of atoning for our decision to drag you kicking-and-screaming down Budget memory lane, please enjoy this picture of some dogs hugging…

dogs Facebook Facebook

*(Sources: Irish Times, RTÉ).

More on the dogs: Hugging photo saves dogs from being put down >

More about the Budget (if you must): Budget 2016 on >

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