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Thursday 26 April 2018

No income tax hike in budget – Taoiseach Enda Kenny reporters

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has ruled out income tax increases in December’s budget but warned the Government has a mountain of work ahead of it to get the country working again.

He was speaking at a joint news conference with Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore to mark the Government's first 100 days in office.

“As we start to reclaim our financial independence, and restore morale and confidence across the country, we have made decisive steps on the road to recovery,” he said in a speck marking 100 days in Government,” he said in an earlier speech.

Recovery steps include restructuring plans for the banks, the jobs and internship programme and the successful completion of the first steps in the ECB/IMF programme.

But one of the biggest challenges is tackling the unemployment problem, he added.

Mr Kenny also admitted that some of the promises he made in his election speech had proved too challenging, including the Strategic Investment Bank, but others like the jobs initiative are now up and running.

However, he added one of the biggest challenges in the future will be reducing unemployment figures.

Mr Kenny also said the country is making “huge sacrifices” to help to solve the eurozone crisis and stressed that Ireland would pay back all its loans after it had overcome its financial crisis.

And he called on other EU leaders to put aside their domestic political agendas to support member states that are clearly achieving targets and working towards recovery.

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore said no previous government has inherited such a crisis in unemployment, in public finances and in banking.

“We have taken the decisons to restructure the banking sector but ... there is no silver bullet to solve the problems,” he said.

'The immediate focus will be on restoring economic independence and a diplomatic offensive to restore the country’s reputation abroad is underway.'

Since the Government was elected, Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin has accused the Coalition of being a Government of “optics rather than substance.”

And a number of u-turns have been signalled in areas like on third level fees and hints that social welfare cuts and income tax increases are creeping back onto the agenda.

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