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Independent TDs decide on Budget stance today

Jackie Healy-Rae and Michael Lowry seek government clarification ahead of tomorrow’s Budget announcement.

Independent TD for Kerry South, Jackie  Healy-Rae.
Independent TD for Kerry South, Jackie Healy-Rae.
Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Updated, 10:55

TWO INDEPENDENT TDS the government relies on to retain its Dáil majority will decide today if they will support the Budget.

The Budget is due to be announced in the Dáil tomorrow.

A fortnight ago, Jackie Healy-Rae and Michael Lowry said that while their support for the Budget was “unlikely”, they would have to see it before deciding which way they’d vote.

Healy-Rae cited the government’s involvement with the IMF and its handling of those negotiations as a factor in his decision to withdraw his guaranteed support, while Lowry said he felt it was time for Labour and Fine Gael to engage with the government on the Budget and show they are ready to take power.

Changes to the pension and cuts to TDs salaries are understood to be contentious issues for the two TDs, according to RTÉ. Ministers and senior civil servants face pay cuts and salary caps in the Budget, according to yesterday’s papers.

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Healy-Rae and Lowry are meeting with the government today to clarify certain issues. Fine Gael TD Lucinda Creighton has said she will abstain from voting on the Budget if either of the Independents don’t support the government.

Speaking to Radio Kerry this morning, Healy-Rae claimed he had succeeded in getting a government concession on third-level registration fees. He said that the €2,000 per year fee would now only apply to the first child in a family to attend third-level, while subsequent siblings would be charged €1,500.

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