Monday 22 January 2018

Budget 2016 - Heavy Garda presence as a handful of protesters gather outside Leinster House

Gardaí outside Leinster House ahead of the Budget
Gardaí outside Leinster House ahead of the Budget

David Kearns

A handful of protesters have gathered outside Leinster House ahead of the upcoming Budget announcements from Minister Michael Noonan and Brendan Howlin.

It is understood that a series of protests have been planned and organised by a loose coalition of activist groups and anti-austerity protesters.

So far however, less than a dozen demonstrators have turned up to protest against the Governments financial plans for next year.

Read More: Live and comprehensive coverage of Budget Day: Free GP care for under 12s, USC cuts, a Coalition row

A heavy Garda presence is in effect around Leinster House, with between 30 to 40 officers position outside the Dáil and the surrounding area of Kildare Street.

According to a Garda spokesperson, the police presence is “generally low key” and they have penned off the streets leading to Leinster House with a number of steel barricades.

“There has been no sign of trouble from those gathered to protest,” they added.

Read More: Budget 2016: Labour 'very unhappy' as major row between Kelly and Noonan puts rent certainty in doubt

Finance Minster Michael Noonan is expected to announce Budget 2016 at 2:30 pm.

Here is what is he is expected to say:

1. The average worker will have an extra €20 a week in their pocket as a result of USC cuts.

2.  The entry point to the USC will rise from €12,012 to €13,000.

2. Cigarettes will go up 50 cents but the price of a pint, of wine, and of a litre of diesel/petrol will be unchanged.

3. Health Minister Leo Varadkar wants to extend the free GP care scheme to all children under 12.

4. The grey vote will targeted with a €3 hike to the pension, the return of 75pc of the Christmas bonus and an extra €2.50 for the fuel allowance.

5. Small business owners will benefit from 20pc Capital Gains Tax (CGT) rate on the sale of business assets up €1m.

6. Renters are unlikely to be too pleased after a row between Environment Minister Alan Kelly and Finance Minister Michael Noonan stalled plans for rent certainty.

7. Farmers and self-employed will benefit from a €550 a year tax credit.

8. A childcare package will include a second year of free pre-school care for every child aged between three and five. Child benefit will rise €5 and two weeks paid paternity leave will be introduced.

9. The inheritance tax threshold for children who are left the family home will rise from €225,000 to €280,000,  the start of a process that will see it increase to €500,000 over a three to five year period.

10. The Government plans to hire over 2,000 teachers, 600 gardaí along with hundreds of nurses.

11. Threshold for family income supplement will be widened to allow more families avail of the weekly tax-free payment available to employees with children.

12. Fuel Allowance up by €2.50 per week.

13. Christmas bonus restored to 75pc of the recipient’s weekly payment. Pensioners on the current rate of €230 will receive a bonus of €173 and a dole claimant receiving unemployment benefit of €188 will get a bonus of €141.

14. Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe will get "in excess of" €20m increased funding for Bus and Rail services.

15. Respite care grant for carer’s will be restored to its previous level of €1,700.

16. Funding to tackle homelessness will increase by 20 pc to €70 million.

17. There will also be a €56 million increase in capital spending for housing.

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