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State of the Nation: Will this be the day austerity finally came to an end?

Here’s everything you need to know about what’s happening in Irish politics right now…

EACH WEEKDAY MORNING, TheJournal.ie brings you a comprehensive guide to what’s happening in the political world.

Everyone’s talking about… 

After years of pre-Budget debates being dominated about what the government was going to cut and which taxes were going to be raised, today Michael Noonan and Brendan Howlin will deliver a Budget involving a moderate increase in spending by this coalition for the first time.

Leaving the Bailout Programmes Source: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

Expect to hear the sort of backbencher roars in the Dáil chamber that haven’t been heard since the days of Fianna Fáil as moderate tax cuts and spending increases are announced. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves of course, we still have whopping deficit, but for the first time the coalition is hoping that Budget day will be a good news day.

The opposition has other ideas, of course. When we put it to one senior Sinn Féin frontbencher last week that this will be a difficult Budget to criticise, they smiled and said: “Don’t worry, we’ll find a way.”

The agenda… 

  • The Fianna Fáil parliamentary party is due to meet before the Budget madness begins with much discussion on the weekend’s disappointing by-elections expected. 
  • 2.20pm: Newly-elected TDs Michael Fitzmaurice and Paul Murphy are introduced to the Dáil 
  • 2.30pm: Michael Noonan delivers the main Budget 2015 statement on taxation. 
  • 3.10pm: Brendan Howlin outlines spending in Budget 2015 after which the opposition will deliver its response.
  • 4pm: A series of media conferences are held by various ministers outlining their department’s budget for next year. You can watch them all here.

What the others are saying

  • Under pressure Arts Minister Heather Humphreys appointed her second cousin as a special advisor, according to the frontpage of the Irish Daily Mail. Lorraine Hall is also a former press advisor to Alan Shatter. 
  • Today’s Budget will see an end to the ‘Double Irish’ tax regime with multinationals who use the  tax minimisation tool to be allowed phase it out, the Irish Times reports. 
  • The Taoiseach was asked to intervene in a bizarre dispute over a €10,000 diamond ring involving Fine Gael TD Seán Conlan, the Irish Independent reports. 

In case you missed it

On the Twitter machine…

One Labour minister thinks austerity really is over

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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