Budget Day met with lacklustre protest

By Greg Synnott, Michael Coleman and Saoirse Ivory

A series of tax adjustments and cuts were announced by Minister Michael Noonan in yesterday’s budget. The City were outside government buildings when the announcement was made.

The €2.5 billion plan included €900 million in additional revenue and €1.6 billion in cuts.

Some of the measures announced by Minister Noonan and Minister Brendan Howlin include:

  • A reduction in jobseekers allowance to €100 per week for under 25s
  • An increase to the price of beers, spirits and cigarettes of 10 cent, and an increase to the price of wine of 50 cent
  • Funding to third level institutions will be cut by €25 million
  • The abolishment of the phone allowance for pensioners
  • The banking sector will now pay €150 million to the  exchequer annually
  • Free GP care will be provided for all children under five
  • Additional jobs will be added in hospitals, schools and An Garda Síochána starting next year, but overall pay will be reduced by €500 million
  • Prescription charges on individual items is to increase to €2.50
  • Tax relief for single parents (who could previously both claim the credit) will be changed to a Single Person Child Carer credit, which only the primary carer will claim
  • A new unified DIRT rate of 42% was introduced
  • Tax relief for medical insurance will be capped at €500 for children and €1000 for adults

Minister Noonan concluded his speech by saying that Ireland is still facing some tough times, but is on the road to recovery.

Meanwhile, outside the Dáil, a surprisingly small number of protesters turned out despite an enormous Garda presence.

Many protesters, who felt the government were targeting the weakest in society, were disappointed by the turnout.

Protester Pamela Hackett gives her view on the Budget
Protester Pamela Hackett gives her view on the Budget

“I’m very disappointed,” said Pamela Hackett, “I thought there’d be a load of people out here.”

Photos: Michael Coleman

Video and Editing: Greg Synnott

Report: Saoirse Ivory

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