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PASCHAL DONOHOE STOOD before the Dáil today to deliver Budget 2019.

The government had promised this Budget will “put money back in people’s pockets”, with a number of provisions already well flagged.

There was good news for social welfare recipients, and changes to income tax that will mean some extra cash in people’s pockets.

However, the government’s housing commitments in the Budget have been criticised, as has its increased VAT rates for hotels, restaurants and hairdressing.

So, how’s it all going to happen?

First, we’ll have Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe taking the floor at 1pm.

The Budget speech usually takes about an hour, and then we’ll hear from the opposition who will undoubtedly attack aspects of it.

And then there’s a series of press conferences from the ministers of each department.

And how can you follow it?

As well as here with the liveblog, we’ll also be streaming the Budget live on Twitter and Facebook.

Afterwards, you can use our Budget 2019 calculator to find out how the changes will affect you.

We’ll also be putting your questions on how it affects your pocket to KBC economist Austin Hughes in a Facebook Live Q&A at 4pm. 

We don’t have to wait until 1pm to find out what’s in this year’s Budget, though, as many of the provisions have already been well-flagged in the media.

My colleague Christina Finn reported at the weekend that the entry point for single earners charged the higher rate of tax will be increased again.

A reduction in the USC, a €5 increase to social welfare payments, and increases in the cost of cigarettes and alcohol are also expected.  

Speaking of Christina Finn, she’s down at Leinster House to witness the goings on this afternoon, and just sent on this update:

Rather dead in Leinster House this morning but filling up now a bit. A lot of chatter about how in the boom times the place was buzzing, bar would be packed, but not today. Everyone getting their feed on in the cafeteria now. 

And what’s on the menu for Budget day I hear you ask? It’s chicken Kiev, shepherd’s pie and steak.

The boom is indeed long gone. In fact, it’s 10 years ago this week that then-Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan delivered the country’s first post-Tiger austerity Budget.

I wrote a piece at the weekend about how the tax increases and the other bad news in Budget 2009 went down (spoilers: not well), and here’s Lenihan outlining how Ireland was entering “one of the most difficult and uncertain times in living memory”.

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

Here was Paschal Donohoe this morning apparently putting “the finishing touches” on Budget.

And yes, he does have a Yoda, a Darth Vader and a Wolverine on his window sill.

It’s expected that the government will increase the price of cigarettes in this Budget.

According to a poll carried out by Amarách Research for Claire Byrne Live, seven in 10 people are in favour of increasing the price of a pack by €5, with the extra money to be ring-fenced to fund cancer treatments.

According to a separate opinion poll, 64% of people would prefer income tax cuts and 34% would favour spending increases. 

And here’s Paschal on the steps outside Leinster House just a few minutes ago.

And he’s wearing a blue tie, which was the bookies’ favourite according to Virgin Media News’ Gav Reilly.

And we’re underway…

“A decade on from the financial and economic crisis that wrought havoc with the lives and aspirations of so many of our citizens, I can report that our economy is growing strongly and sustainably,” he says.

People who emigrated during the crisis are returning home, according to Donohoe.

He says record levels of funding are being put into our key services.

“The shared progress we have made is real,” he says, adding that challenges the country faces are also real. 

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The economy must stay “resilient”, Donohoe says.

He acknowledges members of the government and Fianna Fáil for their input.

“This will further develop the strength and resilience of our economy,” he says. “We will provide significant additional capital investment… to improve the quality of life for our people.

We will promote real and sustainable increases in living standards for all. We will prepare the economy for the main challenges of Brexit.

He calls Brexit the “economic and diplomatic challenge of our generation”. He says Ireland will remain open to the world and at the heart of the EU. 

He says the backstop must be delivered to ensure no hard border in Ireland.

“In these negotiations, we acknowledge our unique shared past, our social, economic and cultural links… that’s why we will press for the closest possible relationship with the UK,” Donohoe says.

He says the government’s plans are based on a deal being reached, but that it has put in place contingency plans.

€110 million has been earmarked for Brexit measures across many government departments, he says, with a loan fund to be set up for SMEs.

“We face the year of Brexit with a balanced budget… and a strong platform for future growth. Our economy is growing at a healthy pace.”

For next year, GDP is forecast to increase by 4.2%, Donohoe says.

Domestic demand has increased by 6% in the first half of the year, with exports up 9%.

“Our growth is broadly based,” he says. “We now have record employment.”

He says the government’s policies are working. 

“We expect to meet our targets of €55.1 billion (tax take) by the end of the year,” he says, adding that Ireland is disproportionately affected by changes in the world economy. 

“In the future, our ability to withstand economic shocks needs to be stronger,” Donohoe says with a Rainy Day Fund to be set up.

It will get an annual contribution of €500 million from the Exchequer. Corporation tax take will help to fund the scheme. 

“The progress made means we will reduce out deficit in 2018,” Donohoe says. “I will balance the Budget for the first time since 2007.”

It is my intention to run surpluses in the future… and to use them to reduce our national debt. We will continue to be careful in how we manage the public finances. The public debt level stands at €42,000 for every person in the State. This is one of the highest in the developed world. 

Donohoe says the government has scope to increase expenditure next year.

Spending next year will top €66 billion.

€59 billion will be current expenditure. 

“This government will continue to implementally improve our public services,” he says.

“The increase in current expenditure I am committing to today is lower than the rate of economic growth forecast for next year. This is consistent with my view that current expenditure growth should not exceed growth in national income,” he says.

He says he’s committed to responsible handling of expenditure.

Donohoe’s been talking a lot about being responsible and sensible with the public finances. 

An additional €1.4 billion is being allocated for schools, universities, public transport and other important infrastructure projects in 2019.

The significant investment domestically comes “at a time of external uncertainty when the impacts and consequences of Brexit are unclear,” Donohoe says.

“I am allocating €2.3 billion for the housing programme next year,” he says. 

This means that over four years, to the end of 2019, €6.6 billion will have been provided to accelerate the delivery of housing supports. This reflects our determination to do more to provide shelter and housing for our people. Where we find ourselves today is not where we want to be. 

“From a point where house building was close to a virtual standstill a few years ago, the government continues to make progress,” Donohoe says.

“More new homes will be provided this year than in any year in the past decade,” according to the Minister.

He says that 70,000 “housing solutions” will have been delivered under the Rebuilding Ireland programme. 

The government is allocating €1.25 billion for the delivery of 10,000 new social homes in 2019.

“These will be delivered through a combination of construction, acquisition and leasing bringing to 30,700 the number of new social housing homes provided under Rebuilding Ireland since 2016,” Donohoe says. 

A further €60 million extra in capital funding will be provided to fund emergency accommodation. Furthermore, €30 million is being provided next year for homelessness services, bringing the total supports to €146 million in 2019.

Overall funding of €100 million will also be provided to facilitate the delivery of around 6,000 affordable homes.

Homes will be delivered at up to 40% below market prices, Donohoe says. 

budget 2019

Donohoe says he’s bringing forward the full removal of the restriction on the amount of interest that may be deducted by landlords in respect of loans used to purchase, improve or repair their residential property.

Income eligibility limits of €50,000 for a single person and €75,000 for dual applicant households will apply to the affordable housing scheme. 

He’s now talking about the health service.

The health budget is being increased by €1.05 billion next year, bringing the total to €17 billion.

Mental health funding will be €1 billion. Total funding in the area of disabilities will top €2 billion. 

Donohoe says recent years have seen the “highest level of health investment in the history of the State”. 

There’s a €25 increase in the weekly income threshold for GP visit cards, and a 50 cent reduction in prescription charges from €2 to €1.50 for all medical card holders over the age of 70.

There’s also a €10 reduction in the monthly drugs payment scheme threshold from €134 to €124.

And here we are, the cost of cigarettes is going up. A pack of 20 will increase by 50 cent, with a pro-rate increase on other tobacco products.

He’s now onto social welfare.

  • All payments will go up €5 from March onwards.
  • The 100% Christmas bonus will be restored to all social welfare recipients this year. 
  • The Back to School allowance will be increased by €25.
  • There’s an increase of €2.20 per week to the qualified child payment for under 12s, and an increase of €5.20 a week for over 12s.
  • A new paid parental leave scheme will be introduced in November 2019, providing two extra weeks’ leave to every parent of a child in their first year. Donohoe says this will be increased to seven extra weeks over time.
  • An increase in the earnings disregard for the one parent family payment and introduce  a maintenance disregard for the working family payment.

The Department of Education is being allocated €10.8 billion in 2019, an increase of 6.7%.

It will allow for almost 1,300 additional posts in schools.

A total of €1.8 billion is being invested to support children with special educational needs, allowing for the recruitment of an additional 950 special needs assistants.

Donohoe wants to encourage businesses, particularly with the looming threat of Brexit on many horizons.

A Future Growth Loan Scheme for SMEs and the agriculture and food sector will be launched.

This scheme will be funded to the tune of €300 million.

This helps form “an important part of the government’s Brexit response,” he says. 

Furthermore, a Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund will make €500 million available for co-funded projects involving enterprise and research partners to 2027.

“My focus is on a competitive and outward-facing business environment,” he says.

Donohoe says “sustainable” again, which has been a theme of the Budget. 

The country will retain the 12.5% corporation tax rates. 

Furthermore, from midnight tonight, companies that move assets offshore to leave the scope of the Irish tax regime will face an exit tax of 12.5%.

On to transport provisions now.

An additional €1.26 billion in capital expenditure through to 2021 will be provided to the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport.

€286 million will be made available next year to support transport infrastructure such as:

  • The N4 Collooney to Castlebaldwin and the Dunkettle Interchange
  • Completion of the runway overlay project at Knock Airport
  • Design, planning and implementation of cycling and walking projects around the country.

€40 million will also be provided to maintain and renew existing infrastructure – namely repair and rehabilitation works on regional and local roads. 

The well-flagged increase in VAT in the hospitality sector has been announced.

“The tourism and hospitality sector also plays a key role in our economy, providing balanced regional growth and supporting nearly 240,000 jobs,” he says.

The drop in VAT made sense when it was introduced back in 2011, according to Donohoe, but it has “done its job” effectively.

It will rise from 9% to 13.5%, and will raise €466 million and support expenditure in other areas.

Tourism initiatives such as the Hidden Heartlands and the Wild Atlantic Way will receive €4.5 million as part of €35 million for “targeted supports” in the sector.

On inheritance tax, Donohoe says he has increased the lifetime tax-free threshold which broadly applies to transfers from parents to children from €310,000 to €320,000.

There’s a bit of grumbling in the chamber as Donohoe announces support for the film sector.

“Members, behave please,” the Ceann Comhairle says. 

Tax reliefs will be extended to start-up companies until the end of 2021.

And, back to the film industry, Donohoe says he’s introducing a “new, time-limited, regional uplift of an additional 5% that will taper out over 4 years” to ensure all around the country benefits. Further details will be available in the finance bill, apparently.

He retains 9% rate for newspaper publications, and is reducing the rate of electronic publications from 23% to 9%.

“This will assist national and regional newspapers to remain competitive and meet the challenges of the modern media landscape,” he says. 

Donohoe says there will be a “step change” in funding commitments for climate action.

“One in every €5 in Exchequer investment in the Plan will be devoted to addressing climate change,” he says. 

The government is investing €164 million in targeted measures to achieve Ireland’s objectives in energy efficiency and renewable energy.

He says a 1% surcharge for diesel vehicles will apply across all VRT bands. 

Measures in future will incorporate climate measures into the “budgetary process,” he says. 

I will be introducing a new accelerated capital allowances scheme for gas-propelled vehicles and refuelling equipment. This is designed to encourage the uptake of gas-propelled commercial vehicles as an economic and environmentally friendly alternative to diesel.

Onto agriculture now.

“2018 was a very difficult year for the farming community,” he says. 

To support the agricultural sector and in particular, disadvantaged farmers, I am allocating an additional €57 million of current expenditure to the [department].

€60 million in current and capital Brexit supports will go to the farm sector.

A three-year extension will also be in place for the Young Trained Farmer stamp duty relief.

He describes “unprecedented” effort from government to strengthen rural communities.

An additional €60 million will be allocated to the broader justice sector that will:

  • provide additional asylum accommodation,
  • widen the Magdalen scheme,
  • fund reforms within the Department of Justice and Equality and the Courts Service,
  • address pressures on Criminal Legal Aid and in prisons, and
  • respond to the demands faced by the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner in its EU-wide role.

€29 million will provided in the defence sector for additional major investments.

“This will fund a programme of equipment replacement and infrastructural development across the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service,” Donohoe says.

An additional €127 million will be provided for the Department of Children and Youth Affairs next year, he says.

Funding for Tusla will increase by €30 million to €786 million.

There’s also additional funding for the cultural and creative sector. 

“The increased funding will: facilitate the planning and early stage implementation of the Department’s 10 year Capital Plan; increase support for arts and artists via the Arts Council and Creative Ireland and additional restoration and development works across our built and natural heritage portfolios,” Donohoe says. 

There’s an increase in funding for childcare, up €90 million.

It will boost the affordable childcare scheme, Donohoe says. “The base income threshold is being raised from €22,700 to €26,000.

“Targeted changes to the income tax code” are on the way, he goes on.

To ease the burden facing low and middle-income earners, there’s a €750 increase in the entry point to the higher rate on tax, Donohoe says. 

There’s a €500 increase in the middle USC entry point, and a cut to the 4.75% USC rate to 4.5%. 

The impact of these changes means that the top marginal rate on incomes up to €70,000 will be reduced to 48.5% and fewer people on incomes around the national average will have any income subject to the 40 per cent rate of income tax.

The minimum wage will also be increased to €9.80 from 1 January 2019. 

He says a figure there I didn’t quite catch but it wasn’t what he meant to say, drawing a laugh from Leo Varadkar. 

“A bit too much for one Budget, Ceann Comhairle,” Donohoe jokes, regaining his composure.

For families where one spouse works primarily in the home to care for children or other dependants, they will have an increase of €300 to the home carer credit.

For 150,000 self-employed workers, earned income credit will increase by €200 to €1,350.

He’s now talking about teachers and other public sector workers, and says that on the new issue of new entrant pay, the government will seek to provide certainty. 

“The agreement equalises the length of time both new and existing members of staff will take to reach the end point of their salary scales,” Donohoe says.

Donohoe has been going on a while now, and is finishing up.

“Budget 2019 further secures the shared progress we have made. It provides record levels of funding to continue to improve our public services.

It helps those on low and middle incomes. It increases living standards for those less well off in our society. It balances our books. It provides significant investment to build resilience in our economy and support its long term growth.

It makes us Brexit ready by providing sufficient flexibility to deal with the risk of a more disorderly outcome. This will be done by balancing our books,while allowing us to invest €1.5 billion in our country’s future.

And it’s a round of applause for Donohoe, as Fianna Fáil’s Michael McGrath takes the floor.

“This government needs to get things done when it comes to housing,” McGrath says.

He wants them to cut the spin and focus on “delivery, delivery, delivery”.

He’s sharply critical of the government’s record on housing.

“This can never be regarded as the norm or acceptable,” he says of families in emergency accomodation this evening.

“Under this government, home ownership has become a distant dream for many people,” he adds.

michael mcgrath

On health, McGrath says the distinct impression has been the “process has been chaotic” in the area of health.

“I’m not suggesting you held anything back, Minister,” but the process of agreeing the health budget appears “crisis-driven” according to the Fianna Fáil finance spokesperson.

On a side note, we’re set to hear from Sinn Féin soon but housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin isn’t impressed with the housing provisions.

McGrath is saying Fianna Fáil has had a “positive effect” on government budgets since entering the confidence and supply agreement three years ago.

Fianna Fáil made a commitment to secure reductions in USC, he says, adding that FF had called for reductions in each of the last three budgets.

In another aside, this is a bit baffling:

As McGrath goes on, we’re getting statements in from various parties over the Budget.

And people aren’t happy with the VAT increase in the hospitality sector.

The Irish Hotels Federation called it “astonishing” and said it makes Ireland “less attractive as a destination”. The Restaurants Association of Ireland called it “thoughtless”.

Orla Moran from IrishJobs.ie said the increase was “at odds with the government’s alleged efforts to champion the SME community and the ‘people who get up early in the morning’.”

The Licensed Vintners Association called VAT increases a “serious blow to pubs”.

Michael Healy-Rae, meanwhile, is “disgusted and angry” about it.

McGrath has his say on the VAT increase.

He says: “There is little doubt many businesses – particularly in the food sector – will not be able to absorb the increase and will have no option but to pass it on to consumers.”

Want to know how your pocket will be affected by Budget 2019?

Our calculator is now live, so check it out here.

There’s also some reaction to the housing aspects of the Budget.

The Peter McVerry Trust has welcomed the series of measures outlined by Donohoe.

Its CEO Pat Doyle said: “I believe that the measures outlined today in the areas of housing and homelessness will ease the pressure on the housing system.

The minister was very clear in prioritising increased spending in the areas of homelessness, social and affordable housing above other areas with very significant increases in housing targets. This is a very important commitment that means organisations like Peter McVerry Trust can do more to respond to the needs of vulnerable people in our society.

The Irish Property Owners’ Association, meanwhile, have “cautiously welcomed” the Budget. Its chairman Stephen Faughnan said the restoration of mortgage interest relief to 100% was a “small start” on the long road of encouraging private landlords to either stay, or invest further, in the sector.

McGrath’s speech is going on.

He says that things look good for the economy now but we must be cautious.

“Economic conditions have been favourable for Ireland in recent years and as a result the economic rebound has been stronger and faster than most predicted,” he says. “When you examine the profile of key risks, we would be naïve to believe this will last forever.”

He also says the government’s record on climate change hasn’t been good.

“For example, local authorities across the country are facing planning applications for solar farms and have they have provided with no national policy or guidelines for central government.  This is symptomatic of the lack of a coordinated national policy on climate change.”

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Fianna Fáil’s Barry Cowen is up now, and he kicks off with an alarming metaphor.

“Like a tide going out revealing who was swimming naked the aftermath of the February 2016 election revealed the true character of many parties in this house,” he says. 

Ah here.

Barry Cowen has another alarming metaphor, referring to parties who haven’t contributed.

In Brendan Behan’s words their ‘like eunuchs in a brothel; they know how it’s done, they’ve seen it done every day, but they’re unable to do it themselves’.

This speech from Cowen is quite something. Now he’s talking about Shane Ross and Dickie Rock.

“Minister Ross has been trying to appeal to grannies like a political Dickie Rock,” he says to chuckles around the chamber. 

Mary Lou McDonald isn’t very impressed with Fianna Fáil, anyway.

Here’s Cowen earlier:

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

While I’ve been on the liveblog, my colleagues have been writing up how Budget 2019 will affect people in a variety of ways.

Aoife Barry has details here on the Rainy Day Fund

Stephen McDermott tells us why haircuts, meals out and Irish hotel stays are likely to get more expensive due to the VAT increase.

Hayley Halpin has details on inheritance tax changes, as well as the affordable housing  and the rise in the price of cigarettes included in the Budget. 

Rónán Duffy reports here on the extra two weeks’ parental leave to be introduced next year.

Conal Thomas tells us what Budget 2019 means for social welfare recipients.

And Daragh Brophy sums up all the main points here

Not included in the Minister’s speech was an increase in the weekly allowance given to those in Direct Provision.

It will increase from €21 to €38 for adults, and to €29.8 for children.

Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty is up now, and he’s not impressed at all with Barry Cowen’s jokes.

“Brendan Behan also said it’s a good deed to forget a poor joke… Laughing in the face of homeless children is worse,” he begins. 

pearse budget

Doherty is talking about Amanda, the homeless woman who appeared on RTÉ Radio last week.

“There’s 10,000 other Amandas around the country,” he says. “Despite all of the numbers you threw out on the floor today… a paltry €80 million… Deputy McGrath has the cheek to say this is a housing Budget…

Shame on you. It’s a betrayal of people in emergency accommodation.

Doherty talks about how the government has overseen the homeless and housing crisis over the past decade.

He attacks the narrative that “we all partied” and says “as a society we splurged, and as a society we must pay was the mantra”.

He says austerity was an excuse in the past, and stability is the excuse now. 

He accuses the government of being “simply blind” to the suffering around the country.

“100,000 workers – people who go to work early in the morning – return home to a life of poverty,” Doherty says. “Almost a quarter of Irish workers are low paid by international standards. This is happening on your watch.”

“Too many families have no rainy day fund of their own,” Doherty says. He adds it’s a Budget for landlords and bankers, and not for ordinary people.

Separately, government ministers are beginning to give press conferences about how the Budget affects their department.

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy’s is starting now.

Doherty accuses the government of repeating the mistakes of Charlie McCreevy from the 2000s.

He calls reliance on corporate tax as “crazy”. 

He says the government plan is to “promise tax cuts to keep the base happy, undermine our public finances, and run our public services into the ground”.

He adds the government has allowed “our tax base to be built on sand”.

At his press conference, Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy has said that legislation will be brought in to allow for sanctions for those who breach the rent cap in rent pressure zones, and roll it out to student accommodation.

Bit of a ruckus in the now largely empty Dáil chamber as Doherty criticises Fianna Fáil and Michael McGrath shoots back.

Fianna Fáil had this big package. This measure. €89 million for housing but, €75 million of it was already there. 

The crisis is now Michael. I know it’s difficult for you to follow. 

Pearse Doherty now talks about a young nurse who reached out to him, and says nothing will have changed for her after Budget 2019.

“Orla is 28, she’s a nurse, and like too many nurses she sees emigration as her only choice. She contacted me, so that as I speak to you today, I could give voice to an Irish citizen abandoned by their government.

But like too many people forced to the edge each month, she’s worried sick about bills. She dreams of one day having a family, but she feels that she simply cannot afford to.

She’s a nurse, the lifeblood of our health service, who says she avoids going to a doctor when she’s sick because she simply can’t afford it… She wants to be successful and give the best care she can to Irish citizens – but she’s forking out €500 for a single room in Dublin? Orla’s story is the story of an endless cycle of Ireland’s most devoted and most talented citizens.

Something that wasn’t in the Budget was increases to carbon tax.

Despite the climate measures the government says it will take, it is facing criticism for not taking this measure which had been well flagged in advance.

Oisin Coghlan, from Environmental Pillar, said: “The Government’s u-turn on the carbon tax is a giant two-fingers to younger generations who will face climate chaos unless we act to drastically cut pollution.”

The ESRI has said that the low carbon tax does not provide “enough incentive to decarbonise” and said that it should be increased significantly to meet EU emission targets.

Trócaire said it was “extremely surprising and disappointing” the government didn’t raise the carbon tax. 

The Irish Medical Organisation is also unhappy with the budget.

It said that the “small amount of funds” – €20 million – allocated to Sláintecare means that no significant reform can take place in the health service.

“What this budget means is that we are in stand still position in respect of delivery. Our health services will continue to struggle with rising demand, complexity of illness, long waiting lists while we cannot attract medical staff or have sufficient capacity in the system,” it said.

Looking at Simon Harris’ Twitter feed, it’s worth noting he’s said that Budget 2019 has provided funds to extend the HPV vaccine to boys and to introduce the HPV test as the primary screening test.

Sinn Féin’s Eoin Ó Broin has been very critical of the housing announcements in the Budget.

Now he says that the government’s promise of 10,000 social houses is simply “not true”. 

So, this “granny flat” grant will run on a pilot basis in just ONE property.

The Independent Alliance has been claiming responsibility for this provision.

The Labour Party’s social media person has been having a bit of fun with the news.

Pearse Doherty’s speech is ongoing and now he’s having a go at the Rainy Day Fund.

“But as you’ve failed to provide what is truly needed for healthcare, to help renters, to build enough houses, to lower the cost of childcare and to increase incomes for struggling citizens…you’ve found money for some PR trickery,” he says.

An FOI response obtained by Sinn Féin makes it clear that you can only use this fund to bail out a banking crash in the future.


My colleague Daragh Brophy is now interviewing KBC economist Austin Hughes about how the Budget will affect you in a Facebook Live Q&A.

You can watch it here

And Pearse Doherty is winding up now.

He says that Irish people are “crying out” for change, and that Sinn Féin government would help to “forge a new Ireland, where no one is left behind”. 

Next up is Labour’s Joan Burton.

Ross has also said the granny grant idea is on the table because of a commitment made by ministers late last night.

He also dismissed calls on him to resign over the VAT increase.

Joan Burton also invokes the memory of Charlie McCreevy Budgets in the Dáil at the beginning of her speech.

“It was Minister Paschal Donohue who was delivering the speech but it is the voice  of my former College classmate Charlie McCreevy that came through as if we were back to the grand old days that we had foolishly thought to be banished forever,” she says.

I wonder how that former minister is feeling today as he listens to Minister Donohue performing as the lead singer of a McCreevy tribute band blasting out his golden hits notably his Top of the Pops sensation When I have it, I spend it.

joan burton

Joan Burton is having a go at Simon Harris and the government’s record on health. 

“The Minister for Health is fond of his Instagram and Twitter accounts. ‘Please make it stop’ was one of his gems,” she says.

Well now this is exactly what taxpayers want when they observe the annual weary announcements of health overspends which have become a truly farcical feature of Fine Gael’s tenure in that Department. How did the Taoiseach allow this to happen again though he himself was as much the culprit during his own dismal occupancy of Hawkins House.

Earn €40,000?

Here’s how Budget 2019 will affect you

For the first time in years, the “Secret Service” is getting a 25% increase to €1.25 million.

To be honest, I had to look this one up.

Virgin Media News journalist Gav Reilly says  it’s a fund through which informants are paid for sensitive criminal information. 

So there you have it.

Oh and Joan Burton musn’t be a doughnut fan.

Earlier, she called it a “Krispy Kreme Budget” which leaves a bad taste. 

Renting charity Threshold has been critical of the Budget for not helping those at risk of homelessness in receipt of Housing Assistance Payment (Hap).

“We are seriously concerned about the impact of the 100 per cent tax relief to all landlords,” it said. “By extending this relief, the Minister may have disadvantaged tenants who rely on.”

Joan Burton is wrapping up her speech now.

“All budgets to some extent are political statements,” she says. “This one takes the biscuit as one of the most nakedly political and election budgets I have experienced in my time here.

Every sentence is designed to secure party advantage more than any other purpose. Those who don’t learn from History are doomed to repeat it. Unfortunately in Ireland, it is the people who will pay the price. The long cherished concept of people being able to buy their own home. 10 years ago, it was expected for people with steady jobs could buy their home. It’s slipping away from us.

And that’s it from me.

Thanks very much for joining me in the liveblog. We’ll have plenty more news and analysis from Budget 2019 on TheJournal.ie this evening and during the rest of the week.

And don’t forget you can use our Budget calculator to find out how your income is affected by the changes. 

Slán go fóill. 

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