Agree or else

'If Fine Gael breach the agreement, the Budget won't pass'

Fianna Fáil’s Sean Fleming said Fine Gael must deliver on their Budget promises.

CIFConference2016-164 Paschal Donohoe at the Construction Industry Federation conference today. Conor McCabe Conor McCabe

FIANNA FÁIL’S SEAN Fleming has said next week’s Budget won’t pass if Fine Gael do not honour the supply and confidence agreement between the two parties.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Sean O’Rourke programme today, Fleming said his party did not want to see any surprises from Fine Gael next Tuesday.

We have this supply and confidence arrangement and it will be shown in next week in the Budget if they comply with that agreement – the split between taxation and expenditure – and there are no shocks or surprises to Fianna Fáil on the day  of the Budget, the Budget will pass.
If they breach those agreements, the Budget won’t pass.

Fleming’s warning comes after a busy few weeks of negotiations which have been taking place between Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, independents and Independent Alliance members in Cabinet.

The agreement states that Fianna Fáil will facilitate Budgets that are “consistent with the agreed policy principles” within the confidence document.

State pension 

Fianna Fáil’s main ask is an increase of €5 to the old age pension. Today, Leo Varadkar confirmed there will be an increase in the State pension.

Other demands have been an increase in the so-called “burial-grant” as well as changes to the inheritance tax regime that will benefit childless couples and single people.

CIFConference2016-201 Minister Donohoe getting a much needed caffeine boost after a long night of Budget negotiations. Today he attended the Construction Industry Federation’s annual conference at Croke Park. Conor McCabe Photography Ltd Conor McCabe Photography Ltd

However, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe was quick to point out today that the supply and confidence agreement is to span across three Budgets.

“We have to work this budget in a new political context,” Donohe said.

He sounded a warning that not everyone is going to get what they want.

This is an agreement with Fianna Fáil across three budgets with a review period after those three budgets. We will see progress in delivering those priorities next Tuesday…
And in the budget that I’m working with everybody on delivering it will make progress on delivering all of those commitments, but we cannot deliver on all of those commitments in a single budget.

Discussions ongoing

He said the Budget was by no means done and dusted today.

“We have a significant amount of work ahead of us, we are still engaged in discussions and negotiations with a number of members of Cabinet.

“We will be bringing some of that to closure now soon. I remain confident we will see a passage of a Budget next week that will be fair.”

Despite expectations that this evening’s Cabinet meeting would be used to sign-off on the Budget, that is now looking more unlikely.


While there have been messages sent back and forth, due to ongoing meetings with all parties, Ministers Donohoe and Noonan have yet to meet the Independent Alliance today.

Today’s Cabinet meeting is now expected to be relatively short, with negotiations set to continue into tonight, tomorrow and possibly the weekend.

One minister that is happy to have secured her Budget asks is Katherine Zappone.

Last night, after over 19 days of discussions, an agreement was reached on a childcare package with Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone.

Over the last couple of weeks the minister has made no apology that she favoured the package benefitting lower income families first.

However, criticism has been levelled at government that not enough is being done for the “squeezed middle”.

Childcare package agreed 

“The development of a new childcare policy to tackle issues in relation to affordability and the quality of childcare has long been recognised now as an issue more progress needs to be made on,” said Donohoe.

“We are going to make more progress on that next week I believe – and I am now in the process of working with Minister Zappone to finalise how we will do that.”

The Cabinet is to meet at 6.30pm this evening to discuss the forthcoming budget.

It’s understood that Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar and Minister for Health Simon Harris have yet to agree on their department allocations.

Read: Noonan says he had “no legal basis” to interfere with controversial Nama Project Eagle sale>

Read: Ireland is giving €7.5 million to help Syrian people>

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