Union reaction: Government 'picked pockets' of poor
UNIONS accused the Government of "picking the pockets" of people who could not fight back by slashing the minimum wage and social welfare.
The Irish Congress of Trade Unions general secretary David Begg described the Budget as "utterly lacking in any sense of the common good".
"These cuts will push us deeper into recession," he said.
"And to what end, for what purpose? To bail out a busted banking system."
He said the plan to take €40 a week from those on the minimum wage was nothing less than "picking the pockets of the working poor".
IMPACT general secretary Shay Cody said the "predictable" Budget would impoverish tens of thousands of people and vowed to resist cuts in the minimum wage and social welfare.
SIPTU general president Jack O'Connor said the rich had been "insulated" again as there was no provision for a tax on wealth, including "trophy" houses.
General secretary of the Civil, Public and Services Union Blair Horan said the Budget failed the test of fairness because it impacted disproportionately on the lower paid and those dependant on state transfers.
"The minister has clearly made this choice by opting for a new universal social charge and reductions in tax credits rather than increasing tax rates or introducing a new rate for higher earners," he said.
Unite condemned the Budget as a "savage attack on those who they think will not fight back" and "as undemocratic a piece of legislation has had been brought forward in the history of the State".
"We have been told for two years, over four budgets, that cutting back would save us," Unite Irish regional secretary Jimmy Kelly said.
"€14bn later and we are staring down the barrel of a decade of desolation."