The nation's great expectations carry the real risk that this 'Giveaway Budget' cannot live up to the early hype
Given the resources at his disposal, Finance Minister Charlie McCreevy looked like he could not lose.
But the then-Fine Gael finance spokesman, Michael Noonan, just could not believe his luck as he spotted the banana skin and tore into the author of this "socially divisive" Budget.
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, sitting between Mr McCreevy and Tánaiste and Progressive Democrat leader Mary Harney, seemed genuinely taken aback. From the Labour side of the opposition benches, one Brendan Howlin was soon gleefully dubbing Mr Ahern as "the only Taoiseach to be surrounded by PDs" in a reference to the shared economic ideology of McCreevy and the then-junior coalition partners.