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Dublin: 10 °C Tuesday 19 November, 2019
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Did Labour get too much in the Budget?

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

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Everyone’s talking about…

PastedImage-74216 Source: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

The Budget still dominates the news cycle today, as debate resumes in the Dáil.

While it was not a giveaway budget, it was certainly one that had at least one eye focused on the general election, which looks set to be held in spring.

But, with Labour support having stabilised over the last few months, will the measures enclosed in the Budget be enough to save the party?

Joan Burton will certainly be hoping that the partial restoration of the social welfare Christmas bonus, increases in the pension and child benefit, the extension of the free GP scheme, paternity leave and a USC cut will be enough to go to the party’s base with.

But the party was swiftly hammered from the left and the right, with some saying Labour didn’t get enough as a coalition partner and others saying they got too much.

Ruth Coppinger criticised the lack of a social welfare increase for young people, while Lucinda Creighton said that the “Labour tail is wagging the Fine Gael dog”.

Even Burton’s own party’s youth wing had a go.

Tweet by @TheJournal Politics Source: TheJournal Politics/Twitter

Labour TDs seemed to like the Budget, however, with the message that it was “family-focused” being a strong one among the junior coalition partner’s benches.

Either way, Joan Burton and Co will be awaiting the next round of opinion polls with bated breath.

The agenda

  • Leaders’ Questions kicks off at 10.30am in the Dáil.
  • Budget motions resume in the chamber at 11.21am, it will finish at 1.50pm for an hour, then restart at 2.50pm and run until 9pm.
  • The Seanad will debate the Climate Action and Low Carbon Bill at 1pm.
  • The upper house also has a Private Members Bill to discuss the Public Services and Procurement Bill at 4pm.
  • In committees, the Justice, Defence and Equality committee will listen to submissions on the Drugs Review from drugstaskforces and charities from 2pm.
  • The Education and Social Protection committee will discuss labour activation services from 1pm.

Inside Leinster House

All sorts turn up at Leinster House on Budget day and yesterday was no different. In the afternoon, we spotted comedian Oliver Callan in the Dáil bar and later former finance minister Alan Dukes was roaming the halls.

While in the evening, one of our most famous sons, actor and comedian Chris O’Dowd, was dining in the Dáil Members’ Restaurant as a guest of Fine Gael Senator Catherine Noone and met his local TD Frank Feighan among others.

What the others are saying…

  • Here’s how the papers cover the Budget.
  • The Irish Independent reports that a report commissioned by Finance Minister Michael Noonan calls for a major overhaul of the Local Property Tax.
  • The Irish Daily Mail reports that Alan Kelly’s plan for rent certainty was nixed by Fine Gael.

In case you missed it…

Good day for…

Fine Gael backbenchers. Facing the electorate will be slightly easier in the spring armed with a USC cut, a restored child benefit and increased public spending.

Bad day for…

Fianna Fáil. The party huffed and puffed, but failed to score a meaningful blow against the Budget. They were also the subject of scorn from the opposition benches, with both Pearse Doherty and Mary Lou McDonald having a go in their speeches.

On the Twitter machine…

Brendan Howlin’s Syriza zinger in his Budget speech was pre-empted on the tweet machine by its intended target.

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