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Dublin: 11 °C Monday 23 September, 2019

Noonan: 'No connection' between cuts for pensioners & free GP care for under 5s

The Minister’s been speaking to reporters on his way into the final Cabinet meeting ahead of Budget 2014.

(Youtube: Hugh O’Connell)

MICHAEL NOONAN HAS insisted to reporters that there “isn’t any connection” between possible cuts to benefits for older people and the introduction of free GP care for the under-fives.

The Finance Minister was speaking on his way into Government Buildings this morning, as the Cabinet gathers ahead of this afternoon’s announcement of Budget 2014.

Media speculation on what’s in store has focused on cuts to medical cards and phone allowances for pensioners, increased prescription charges, and a decrease in dole payments for those in their early 20s.

Minister Noonan was largely sticking to the party line this morning, saying the Budget would be ‘tough but fair,’ and that it was designed to get the country back on its feet.

He declined to go into any more detail on the extent of cuts that will affect older people, saying “you’ll have to wait till this afternoon”.

Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin said the the full Budget had been agreed, and that today’s Cabinet meeting provided an opportunity to brief all ministers on the “integrated proposals”.

He said the measures announced would be “pro-families in every sense of that word,” and rejected suggestions that the package of spending cuts and tax increases would be ‘anti-pensioner’:

(Youtube: Hugh O’Connell)

Read: The Budget, the Budget and everything else happening in Leinster House today >

Read: “Sickest and the poorest” set to be hit hardest by Budget cuts today >

Poll: Are Budget cuts for pensioners justified >

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