Wednesday 20 February 2019

Not mentioned in the Budget: €4.4m for Áras, €1m extra for Taoiseach's staff, €12m for abortion

ARAS OFFICE: President Michael D Higgins. Photo: Mark Condren
ARAS OFFICE: President Michael D Higgins. Photo: Mark Condren
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

FINANCE Minister Paschal Donohoe announced the headline figures for his €1.5bn Budget in the Dail.

However, buried in the minister’s Budget Expenditure Report are a series of other spending decision he did not mention in his speech

For instances, the budget for the Office of the President will increase slightly this year with the estimated cost of running Áras an Uachtaráin set at €4.4m for 2019.

This an increase of more than €100k a year compared to last year’s figures.

The majority of this additional funding will go towards centenarian’s bounty paid to people who reach 100 years old. The rest of the increase is going towards salaries and allowances.

Mr Donohoe also budgeted an extra €1m for salaries, wages and allowances in the Department of the Taoiseach. Office premises expenses for the Taoiseach’s office are also due to cost an additional €50,000 next year.

Meanwhile, the Secret Service has seen its budget increase by 25pc as global threats to State security increase. The country’s mysterious spy agency will see its annual budget rise to €1.25m

Health Minister Simon Harris is expected to announce later today he has secured €9m to extend the HPV vaccine scheme to young boys.

Mr Harris has also received €12m for the introduction of abortion services following the referendum on the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution.

Mr Donohoe has budgeted €13.5m for the introduction of tighter customs controls on the country’s borders in the case of a ‘no deal’ Brexit.

The funding will go towards hiring 270 custom officials along with paying for new infrastructure and IT systems for airports and ports.

The Department of Foreign Affairs has been given an additional €13m which will be specifically used to open 10 more embassies and diplomatic missions abroad. The funding will go towards the Government’s aim of doubling Ireland’s global footprint

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