FINANCE Minister Michael Noonan has dismissed complaints from a rebel Fine Gael backbencher that his Budget was not fair.
It came during the final stages of the 2013 Finance bill, which is being put through the Dail to implement the remaining measures of Budget 2013.
Fine Gael Dublin South TD Peter Mathews criticised the failure to increase taxes on people earning over €120,000 in the Budget. He said there was a need for fairness, pointing out that he remembered when there were 70pc tax rates on higher incomes in the 1970s.
"People are paralysed just putting bread and butter on the table. We'd want to snap out of this trance. We've got to really think it out and we've got to be brave and courageous," he said.
But at the Oireachtas Finance Committee, Mr Noonan said there was fairness and equality in the Budget. He said his department had received more than 1,000 pre-Budget submissions and that he and his officials had held many meetings with voluntary groups.
"The engineering (of the Budget) has been examined in detail," he said.
It is not the first time that Mr Mathews has clashed with Mr Noonan. Last week, he called for an emergency Budget to scrap the property tax - a call which Mr Noonan ignored.