Monday 20 January 2020

Fianna Fáil 'will reserve judgement' until they see final Budget 2017 package

Fianna Fáil Finance spokesman Michael McGrath Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Fianna Fáil Finance spokesman Michael McGrath Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Kevin Doyle and Catherine Devine

Fianna Fáil will “reserve judgement” on the Budget until they see their final package, their finance spokesperson Michael McGrath has said.

The party, which must at abstain in order for the Budget to pass, were engaged in talks with Fine Gael late into the night.

And Mr McGrath said there are still “a few bits and pieces to be rounded off” before Finance Minister Michael Noonan takes to his feet in the Dáil at 1pm.

“We haven’t seen the entirety of the Budget. We reserve final judgment until we see the final package,” he said.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Mr McGrath said Fianna Fáil did not write the budget but have had a “small, measured” impact on it.

“Undoubtedly there will be a lot of measures in today’s budget that will be drawn from the confidence and supply arrangement.

“You won’t find complete delivery. This is one budget. The agreement is for three budget at least,” he said.

Mr McGrath indicated that Fianna Fáil are likely to support the only budgetary measure to be voted on in the Dáil today, which will be a hike of up to 50 cents in the price of a packet of cigarettes.

However, he said they will “almost certainly abstain” on the full Finance Bill when it comes before the House.

"We wont agree with everything in it. We are in opposition so there will be measures in there that we will disagree with and so we wont be voting but the agreement is to ensure that the budget passes if certain policies are met."

Meanwhile Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe told RTÉ that the budget "reflects everyone in Government".

"The recent weeks have been full of long nights and it’s been very important with a budget of this scale to deal with all of our colleagues to make sure that we have a budget in place that reflects the breadth of our Government and reflects our country and the environment that we’re in.

"I’m confident that we have provided such budget and I am looking forward to presenting it to the Dáil in a couple of hour’s time."

He said that "resources are finite" so the Government are making spending decisions that are "affordable".

"We have honoured our programme for Government and in so doing we have looked to make progress in key elements."

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