A hard day's night for Mininsterial Budget pair
FINANCE Minister Michael Noonan and Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin made the final, official sign-off on cuts and tax hikes last night.
It is understood both men worked into the night, finalising details of speeches and talking to advisers before the documents were sent to print rooms in the bowels of the Department of Finance.
One of the ministers met print staff overseeing production of the Budget book, expenditure report and both their speeches.
The three or four men working there awaited the green light from Government officials who proof read the final versions of each document before the presses rolled.
Some 1,000 copies of the Budget book and 1,000 of the expenditure report were run off, along with copies of the speeches.
About a dozen officials will then carry the books in boxes from below Upper Merrion Street to Leinster House no later than 1pm today.
Staff who worked through the night will finally go home, many after a 24-hour shift, before any minor changes in speeches are signed off at the last Cabinet briefing this morning.
The ministers will decide on lunch in the department depending on how pressed for time they are.
Mr Noonan will also have to select from a choice of up to four ties to wear at different points of the day - an early afternoon photocall, the Dail speech and Prime Time appearance.
The minister is scheduled to start his speech at 2.30pm, with Mr Howlin pencilled in to follow 40 minutes later.
As the opposition respond, Mr Noonan and Mr Howlin will take stock before a debrief with advisers ahead of a press conference to explain decisions.
The immediate reaction to Budget 2013 draws to a close on Thursday morning when the ministers take questions from concerned listeners on the Pat Kenny show.