Ireland Government Budget To Be Unveiled
The Irish Government will present its annual budget this afternoon, just days after the Prime Minister Enda Kenny said the country would exit the EU bailout in December.
The 2014 budget, billed as the final austerity budget in Ireland, is expected to bring a further ?2.5bn (£2.1bn) in cuts and tax hikes, but the Irish Prime Minister has said there will be "some good news" too.
At his party conference at the weekend, Prime Minister and Fine Gael party leader Enda Kenny announced that Ireland would exit its strict bailout programme on December 15, 2013.
Speaking in Limerick on Saturday, Mr Kenny said: "Tonight I can confirm that Ireland is on track to exit the EU-IMF bailout on December 15. And we won't go back.
"It won't mean that our financial troubles are over. Yes there are still fragile times ahead. There's still a long way to go. But at last the era of the bailout will be no more. The economic emergency will be over."
Ireland accepted a ?85bn (£71bn) bailout from the EU-IMF in November 2010 following a crisis in the banking sector.
Since then the country has faced a series of tough austerity budgets to ensure it meets the terms of the financial agreement.
The coalition parties in government have been meeting over the last few days to agree the 2014 budget for each government department.
Cabinet ministers met in Dublin on Sunday evening to negotiate some of the final points on departmental spending.
So far there has been speculation that the budget will focus on measures to help low-income families and small businesses, as well as job creation.
The Prime Minister has ruled out speculation that the government will increase the country's low corporation tax, currently 12.5%.
The budget announcement got off to a stuttering start on Tuesday however, when five ministers got stuck in a lift.
Politicians including Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamonn Gilmore, Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar, and Alan Shatter, the Minister for Justice, were stuck in a lift in government buildings in Dublin for 15 minutes.
Minister Varadkar tweeted: "Stuck in lift with half the Cabinet on Budget Day. Late for RTE. What are the chances? #Budget2014"