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No mini-budget in January, but budget package will 'get us through winter', says Martin

The windfall tax take will help ‘buffer’ Ireland’s finances, says the Taoiseach.

Image: Sam Boal

TAOISEACH MICHEÁL MARTIN has said he does not foresee a mini-budget in January. 

Speaking to reporters at the Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis in the RDS, the Taoiseach did not  commit to spending the extra windfall tax money on helping people with their electricity bills. 

The €11 billion budget package is “to get us through the winter period”, he said. 

“We don’t see a mini-budget in January. We will keep everything under review in terms of the the wider international situation, the war in Europe, if it deteriorates, if other events happen, we are worried about that uncertainty about the war,” added Martin.

“I think we’ve we’ve taken a very steady approach here. We have a strong surplus because of managing the economy well through Covid-19, and a very fast rebound. But there are still challenges. The markets across Europe are not as strong as they would have been a year ago. We’re an exporting nation, so we’re very conscious of potential difficulties. We’ve seen how things can go wrong quickly. So we’re taking nothing for granted,” the Taoiseach said. 

In terms of the windfall tax, which is indicated could bring in €2 billion, the Taoiseach said it will take some time for that revenue to come into the Government Exchequer. 

Mechanisms have to be put in place for the funding before decisions are taken, he added.

“But it is revenue that will be there for the State and will help to buffer up our finances.

“We wanted to get people through to March. But we have to look at situations throughout the entirety of 2023,” he added.

While he said there will not be a mini-budget, he indicated that there could be further measures brought in, as they were in earlier this year.

“We did things, like for example in July, which was not a mini-budget, but we did eliminate school transport fees, we increased back-to-school clothing allowance, and we took measures like that which don’t constitute a mini-budget but nonetheless which were mechanisms to help people,” he said. 

Separately, when asked about the confidence he proclaimed in Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien, the Taoiseach said he has brought a “breadth” to the number of programmes he has brought to the Housing for All plan. 

There is an understanding with Fianna Fáil’s partners in Government regarding the key positions in Cabinet, the Taoiseach said. 

He said his party took on challenges when it came into Government.

“We were fully aware of the enormous challenge housing represented, health represented, we took them on, and we were anxious to take them on. We were very keen, because there are three fundamental pillars in the programme for Government, in terms of housing, health and climate change. And we are making a difference in all of those areas as a government,” he said. 

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