Budget blog

All the budget day rolling news and more . . .

Joanne Hunt Tue, Oct 15
LIVE: Budget blog

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  • This event has now ended
  • 10:33
    Good morning. It's Tuesday October 15th. Welcome to the Irish Times' live Budget Blog.
  • 10:36
    Do did you fill up the car last night, stock up on vino, or buy an extra 20 Major to beat the tax man?
  • 10:42
    So what's happened so far this morning?

    7am: Minister for Finance Michael Noonan and Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin arrived at their offices for briefings with departmental officials.

    9am: The Cabinet met for the final time before the budget.

    11am: Noonan and Howlin will return to their offices to carry out any late changes to their speeches that may be required following the Cabinet meeting.
  • 10:55
    "The overall adjustment will be made up of some €900 million in new taxes as well as a total of €1.6 billion in cuts across all 15 Government departments."

    That's a lot of cuts. Read Harry McGee's verdict.
  • 10:58
    Rosencrantz and Guildenstern? Vladimir and Estragon?
    Rosencrantz and Guildenstern? Vladimir and Estragon?
  • 11:02

    "They make for an incongruous couple, as different in look, outlook and temperament as a comedy double act, " writes Harry McGee of the Noonan/ Howlin double-act.

    "In a sense they are a Morecambe and Wise for the world of Irish politics – one doing constant gravitas, the other smattering it with a bit of levity and humour."


  • 11:08
    Everyone revved and ready to go  here at Tara St Towers. Stick with us for budget news as it unfolds.
  • 11:16
    Waiting for the hurricane. Barriers being erected outside the Dáil yesterday evening in advance of the Budget announcement.
    Waiting for the hurricane. Barriers being erected outside the Dáil yesterday evening in advance of the Budget announcement.
  • 11:18
  • 11:22
    'Cause there ain't nowhere to hide,
    Waiting for the hurricane,
    There is nowhere here to hide,
    Waiting for the hurricane,
    Oh there is nowhere you can hide,
    Waiting for the hurricane, no, no, no. no.'

    You can always rely on Chris de Burgh to capture the mood.
  • 11:26
  • 11:33

    So what's the timeline of events today?

    Noon: Ministers will meet departmental officials to discuss any developments arising at Cabinet so as to ensure everyone is on the same wavelength.

    1.45pm: Noonan and Howlin will go to the steps of Government Buildings for a photocall where they will be photographed with their respective budget documents before returning to their offices for last minute sit-downs with press and policy advisers before they go into the Dail.

  • 11:38

    2.30pm: Bingo begins. Noonan will deliver his speech which focuses on the taxation side of the budget. (Expect moans and groans from opposition benches).

    3.10pm: Howlin will deliver his speech which focuses on the expenditure side of the budget. (Expect boos and hisses from oppostion benches).

    4pm: Opposition spokespeople get to express their views. (This is when the skin and hair flies).

  • 11:43
    Tom Skin and hair wont fly. Some angry lip service will be paid. Nothing new.
  • 11:47
    Meanwhile, over in leafy D4, Allsop Space is auctioning distressed properties.

    Get your hands on a hotel in Moville, Co. Donegal for €175,000.

    Watch the auction live.
  • 11:50
    Did you watch the Madeleine McCann appeal on the BBC's Crimewatch last night?
  • 11:51
  • 11:54
    Charlie Chaplin Austerity Ireland 2013 from the comedy act of Laurel and Hardy
  • 12:01

    Looks like we can expect an increase in Dirt tax on savings interest from 33 per cent to 41 per cent.

    Will it still pay to save? Perhaps not in a bank.

  • 12:04
    Dodge Dirt. Invest in a pig.
    Dodge Dirt. Invest in a pig.
  • 12:13
    Yes. That's SIX detached houses and sites in Galway that have just sold at the Allsops auction for €420,000.
  • 12:18
    Lockdown around the Dail as gardai prepare for protests.
  • 12:23
    A Drogheda family’s evidence is proving key to the Madeleine McCann appeal. Police say their statement was a ‘revelation moment’ that altered six years of thinking about case.

    Read more.
  • 12:33
    What's the impact of Budget 2014 on pensioners?

    1. Cuts to free telephone allowance (worth €9.50 a month).
    2. Tightening of eligibility for medical card holders over 70 leading to a reduction in entitlement for thousands of over 70s.
    3. Possible increases in capital gains and capital acquisition taxes may prompt some to alter their wills
    4. Travel, gas and electricity payments for pensioners will remain unaffected.
  • 12:34
  • 12:45
    Will it be a case of third time lucky for Irish author Colm Tóibín?

    The Enniscorthy native is one of six writers vying for this year’s Man Booker prize which will be announced later tonight. Tóibín has been nominated for his 112-page novella, The Testament of Mary.

    Eoin Burke-Kennedy reports.
  • 12:56
    The business of golf. How much is Rory McIlroy really worth?

    Colm Keena reports.
  • 12:57
  • 13:12
    What's the budget likely to mean for the chislers?

    Free GP care for under-fives
    No changes to child benefit.
    Class sizes remain the same.
    Rent-a-book scheme in primary schools (about time)
  • 13:15
    Rumours of a power cut on Grafton Street, with banks, ATMs and shops affected. Anyone hear anything about that?
  • 13:25
    A gaggle of protesters has walked past the Irish Times, moving towards the quays.

    Their banners say 'Anti-eviction Taskforce' and 'The Enda is Nigh'.

    More guards (about 25) than protesters (about 15).

  • 13:27
    Protesters on Tara Street, one carrying a piece of cardboard that reads 'The Enda is Nigh'.
    Protesters on Tara Street, one carrying a piece of cardboard that reads 'The Enda is Nigh'.
  • 13:42
  • 13:46
     Bit of a Republican vibe going on too - three 'Republican Voice' flags and a tri-colour.
    Bit of a Republican vibe going on too - three 'Republican Voice' flags and a tri-colour.
  • 13:50
    Is it just me, or does this look and feel like a ransom video?
  • 13:54
    You might see that video better here.
  • 13:56
    "German law would need to be changed before the euro zone’s rescue fund could provide aid directly to Irish banks, the country’s finance minister said today, raising another obstacle to joint support for dealing with failing lenders."

    Read more.
  • 14:05
    If that video of Mr Noonan, tweeted by @MerrionStreet, was recorded today, it looks like the Minister will mostly be wearing a red and pink striped tie.
  • 14:08
    Rumour has it that Eamon Gilmore, Leo Varadkar, Phil Hogan, Jan O'Sullivan and Alan Shatter were stuck in a lift for 15 mins today.
  • 14:19
  • 14:30
    The Ceann Comhairle has taken his seat in the Dail. Events are about to kick off.
  • 14:31
    Michael Noonan is on his feet. It's blue/purple tie people.
  • 14:34
    The budget is about reinforcing policies that grow the economy and preparing the country for exiting the bail-out, says Minister Noonan.
  • 14:34
    "Too long a sacrifice can make a stone of the heart", says Minister Noonan, quoting W.B Yeats.

    'People have already made many sacrifices.'
  • 14:36
    Now follows his run through of measures already taken by this Government to steer the economy back to stability.

    'They have played a significant part in our recovery'.
  • 14:37
    9 per cent VAT rate for tourism and hospitality sector will continue. It will support jobs and create new ones.
  • 14:37
    Air travel tax reduced to zero from April 2014, in the hope that airlines will open more routes into the country. C'mon the tourists.
  • 14:40
    In Agriculture and Food, there will be a review of the sector to ensure Government monies are being spent wisely.  

    Incentives for older farmers to lease out their farms to younger farmers.  

    Young farmers' relief is also being extended to attract new people into the sector.
  • 14:42

    Want to get a bit of tiling, extending, plumbing or what not done at home? There's going to be tax relief for that, at a rate of 13.5 per cent on spend from €5000 - €30,000. 


  • 14:43
    In the construction sector, there are plans to build 4500 new houses and apartments in Dublin, and much-needed office accommodation in the capital too.
  • 14:45
    Mr Noonan is going to publish a new international tax strategy statement - it will ensure companies located here will not be 'State-less'  - that is, that they will be forced to pay tax somewhere.
  • 14:47
    He hopes the new Home Renovation scheme will get construction workers back on the job.
  • 14:48
    There will be an extension of relief for film makers, incentivising foreign production companies to shoot their movies here.
  • 14:54
    On mortgage arrears, the Minister says he fully expects that within 12 months, the vast majority of those in arrears will have been offered and will have accepted a sustainable solution, that they will be able to 'move on with their lives' and 'engage with the real economy'.
  • 14:55
    Ireland's debt ratio will peak at 124 per cent of GDP by the end of this year, the Minister says. "We have to reduce how much we are borrowing."
  • 14:56
    This debt ratio will reduce to 120 per cent by 2015 and 118.4 by 2016. But we need to make savings.
  • 14:58
    He will cap tax relief on medical insurance to €1000 per adult and €500 per child. Otherwise the Government is subsidising those with 'gold-plated' health insurance.
  • 14:59
    50 cent increase on wine, 10 cents on a measure of spirits and 10 cents on ciggies.
  • 15:00
    Knock yourself out before midnight tonight.
  • 15:03
    There's a nice Argentinian Malbec in Aldi at the minute. It'll still be under a tenner tomorrow.
  • 15:04
    There will be no increase in the universal social charge in 2014. Amen to that.
  • 15:05
    There will be no increase in tax on petrol, diesel and home heating oil in 2014.

    Lots of 'Hear, Hears' from the benches for that.
  • 15:07
    The minister says he wants to 'close this chapter in Irish history'.

    He says the future will bring 'No promissory notes, no Anglo Irish Bank and no bank guarantee'.

    "Ireland will be handed back  her purse."
  • 15:08
    (How long before there's an @Irelandspurse twitter handle?)
  • 15:09
    Minister Brendan Howlin is now on his feet.
  • 15:11
    "Nobody is ideologically committed to austerity" says Minister Howlin. "Austerity is what was left" he says of the state in which the previous government left the Irish economy.
  • 15:13
    At the end of 2010, there was a 30 per cent deficit he says. In 2011, the government began to reduce that deficit "in a balanced and strategic" way. (Groans from the benches).

    By the end of 2014, the target deficit is 4.8 per cent, he says.
  • 15:15
  • 15:17
    Extra staff in classrooms, hospitals and in frontline policing next year, Howlin promises.

    These are a 'reform dividend', made possible because of savings. But the public sector wage bill will be cut next year.
  • 15:19
    DIT's Grangegorman project will begin at the end of this month.
  • 15:21
    Overall,  nine of the public private parternship projects announced last year will bring 13,000 direct jobs. Five of these nine PPPs have already been issued to market.
  • 15:22
    €200m from the Lotto sale will be spent on stimulating local economic activity  and job creation.
  • 15:24
    "The last six years has left emotional and physical scars on this country," he says.

    €10m has been allocated to resolve the problems at Priory Hall, a further €10m will go into a new unfinished housing estate scheme.
  • 15:25
  • 15:26
  • 15:30
  • 15:31
    Child benefit rates will remain the same. Free GP care for under-fives is confirmed.
  • 15:32
    Primary and secondary school class sizes will remain the same.
  • 15:32
    1,250 new teachers and resource teachers to be hired next year, and a new garda recruitment programme too.
  • 15:33
    €5 million will be invested in the books-to-rent scheme for primary schools.
  • 15:34
    Minister Howlin has commended the Budget to the house and is back in his seat.
  • 15:36
  • 15:37
    "This is a budget that targets the elderly", says Fianna Fail's Michael McGrath.
  • 15:38
    "Even the dead are not safe from this government," says McGrath of the removal of finanical aid for funeral costs.
  • 15:41
    Genevieve is up at the Dail.
  • 15:43
    This budget is about 'dividing and conquering' the weak says Fianna Fail's Michael McGrath.
  • 15:51
  • 15:52
  • 15:55
    The bereavement grant of €850 will be discontinued from January.
  • 16:00
    Jobless to get income tax exemption to set up a business.

    Read more

  • 16:01
  • 16:05
  • 16:08
    Farmers can expect to come under the microscope this year as their reliefs are reviewed. 

    Good news for young farmers however, with more incentives for them to enter the profession. 

  • 16:12
    Minister for Justice Alan Shatter has announced €9million in funding for the garda vehicle fleet.
  • 16:16
    Minister for Justice Alan Shatter talks about how the Budget impacts his department.  Some shiny new garda cars on the way. 

    Watch here.
  • 16:19
    There will be additional funding to increase staff for garda vetting too.
  • 16:23
    Form an orderly queue folks.
  • 16:29
  • 16:30
    JM Anything remotely green or sustainable about this budget? So far air travel is getting a boost and car fuel...
  • 16:32
    An increase in tax on your savings, what will that mean?

    "Under the new rate, a deposit account valued at € 50,000 and earning interest at 3 per cent will now only return € 885 to an investor, with € 615 going to the Exchequer," writes Fiona Reddan.

    Read more.
  • 16:32
    Brigid Gallagher On the day that a convicted drug dealer has been released why was there no reduction in money spent on luxuries inprison eg tv in cells or state of the art gyms and this money given to the poor law abiding citizens
  • 16:37
    The Government has announced a special levy on banks to raise €150 million annually over the next three years, writes Ciaran Hancock.

    Can consumers expect to foot the bill for this via higher banking charges?
  • 16:38
  • 16:47
    “Taking away medical cards from tens of thousands of older people will jeopardise the health of those most vulnerable to illness. Removing the phone allowance adds to the security risks of many older people who already feel isolated and vulnerable in their homes," says Fianna Fail's Dara Calleary.
  • 16:47
    ken Single parents tax relief for the non main parent which mostly will hit the fathers. Single dads screwed again by the system that thinks we're all deadbeats
  • 16:51
    We haven't heard from Ruairi Quinn yet. Here's the message from him on education - Deis schools protected as are grants for third level students and more teachers will be hired. 

  • 16:52
  • 16:59
  • 17:00
    Oooo! Nice soundbyte Pearse.
  • 17:03
    The Department of Health briefing of press by Minister for Health Dr James Reilly is on right now. Watch and listen here.
  • 17:08
    Got a question? Just ask.
  • 17:12
    No surprise that the Irish Hotels Federation welcomes the extension of the 9 per cent tourism VAT rate.
    "The retention of the reduced VAT rate will enable us to compete more effectively abroad for holidaymakers. This will continue to have benefits for increased employment throughout the country, particularly in rural regions," says federation chairman, Michael Vaughan.  
  • 17:18
    €8 million is going to be spent on developing the Wild Atlantic Way along the west coast - but what is it?

    "The Wild Atlantic Way is Ireland's first long-distance touring route, stretching along the Atlantic coast from Donegal to West Cork," says Failte Ireland.

  • 17:18
  • 17:22
    There will be a new round of Sports Capital Funding in 2014 too. Sports clubs will be able to apply for essential works like new changing rooms, pitches and lighting.
  • 17:30
    Tax reliefs for the restoration of residential and retail buildings previously applied only to Georgian housing stock can now be used to bring pre-1915 buildings up to a habitable standard.

    Olivia Kelly reports.
  • 17:36
  • 17:41
  • 17:44
    National Youth Council of Ireland Youth Council reaction: "cuts to payments to young jobseekers disproportionate and unfair" http://www.youth.ie/nyci/Budget-2014-cuts-payments-young-jobseekers-disproportionate-and-unfair
  • 17:48
    Magdalene compensation payments to be tax-free.

    Patsy McGarry has the story.
  • 17:49
    DrDave What is this "two thirteen" that Noonan is talking about? Should we be worried that our Finance Minister doesn't know the difference between 213 and 2013??
  • 17:52
  • 17:59
    The Children's Rights Alliance is disappointed by the 12 per cent reduction in maternity benefit. "Ireland is currently in the middle of a baby boom and to reduce maternity benefit at this time is counter-productive economically, counter intuitive and will result in discouraging people from having babies. It will inevitably force mothers back to work earlier and interfere with breastfeeding arrangements," says Children's Rights Alliance chief executive, Tanya Ward.  
  • 18:07
    Retention of the special 9 per cent rate of VAT on newspapers has been welcomed by the National Newspapers of Ireland (NNI).

    The reduced VAT rate recognises newspapers "unique role in the democratic process" says the NNI.

    Dan Keenan reports. 

  • 18:15
    "Make no mistake about it: This was not a giveaway budget," writes political correspondent, Harry McGee.
  • 18:20
    Maternity benefit is being cut from €262 to €230 per week.

    The cut is 'anti-woman' and 'anti-family'.  Kitty Holland reports.
  • 18:22
    There's an idea.

  • 18:46
    "Minister for Finance Michael Noonan had promised that people would be “astounded” with all the good news he would announce," writes Carl O'Brien.
    "Try telling that to young people, new mothers and pensioners. All have been hit with a range of cuts in entitlements, allowances and benefits."

  • 18:47
  • 18:56
    What does smokers' lobby group Forest Eireann have to say about the 10 cent increase in cigarettes?

    "Every increase in tobacco taxation is good news for smugglers and bad news for retailers and law-abiding consumers," says spokesman, John Mallon. "Once again those hardest hit will be the unemployed, the low paid and the elderly."
  • 19:06
    That's it from the Budget Blog. Thanks for stopping by.

    Keep up to date over night on IrishTimes.com.

    I'm off to get some wine. Oíche mhaith.