Brendan Howlin: Don't bet on Budget being fair, progressive or even sensible when it finally lands
This is the first Budget I haven't been directly involved in for five years. This year, there won't be anyone visiting the bookies tomorrow to put down a fiver on what colour tie I'll wear to unveil the Budget.
Over each of the last five years, I spent the equivalent of a weekend putting in late hours in the office, finalising documents, and concluding the haggling with different ministers. It's an odd feature of the Budget process in Ireland that even though we're talking about a Budget package of more than €50bn, the fighting always comes down to the last €10m or so.
Last year, it was Kathleen Lynch who caused the last sleepless night before the Budget.