Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe T.D. is today (Wednesday) travelling to Athlone and Kilkenny to discuss Budget 2019 and what it means for the citizens of Ireland.
Minister Donohoe will be joined in Athlone, this morning, by Minister of State for the Office of Public Works and Flood Relief, Kevin Boxer Moran TD. He will be joined in Kilkenny, in the afternoon, by Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty TD; and Minister of State for Local Government and Electoral Reform, John Paul Phelan TD.
The visits to the Athlone Civic Centre and Kilkenny Castle, which are taking place in association with the Local Authorities, will see Minister Donohoe and colleagues outline the main points and outcomes of Budget 2019, which Minister Donohoe presented to the Dáil last week (9th October). They also present a valuable opportunity to hear the views of local business groups, community organisations and stakeholders generally.
Speaking ahead of the day, Minister Donohoe said: ‘Budget 2019 is particularly significant as it will see us balancing our books for the first time since 2007. We have been through some exceptionally difficult times in recent years but through the hard work and determination of the Irish people we are now in a much more stable position. This enables us to deal with what lies ahead in the years to come. A balanced budget provides a solid foundation for all of our futures. The days of profligacy and excessive borrowing to fuel unsustainable spending are in the past. Our house is now in order. To give ourselves the best chance for the future, it must stay like that’.
“There are now many challenges on the horizon; most notably, Brexit. The decisions we have taken in Budget 2019 were made with this in mind. The decision to deliver the largest increase in capital investment in a decade, through an additional €1.5bn in funding, will allow for the building of more homes, school, roads and hospitals. This will ensure that we are better equipped for the future and that the needs of all of our people are adequately met. Careful and responsible management of our finances too, in the form of steady and affordable increases in day to day spending, reducing people’s taxes incrementally, the establishment of a Rainy Day Fund, reducing our debt burden and investing in our public services such as childcare, education and healthcare will help us to build a more secure, more competitive and more resilient future for a modern Ireland.”
Attending today’s event, Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty TD said: ‘I am delighted to be in Kilkenny to talk about our Budget and engage with people locally. From my own Department’s point of few, in the Budget, we provided for increases across most allowances, as well as targeting additional resources to families and children. I was particularly pleased to introduce two new schemes; parental leave for both parents in a child’s first year of life and Jobseekers Benefit for the Self Employed’.
“Last week’s announcements – both the increases and the new innovations – reflect this Government’s commitment to working families and the vulnerable in society. It seeks to strengthen opportunity and create an environment for citizens in Kilkenny – and throughout the country – to prosper.”
Minister of State Phelan said: ‘As Minister of State for Local Government and Electoral Reform I am pleased that Budget 2019 continues to demonstrate this Government’s commitment to the local government sector; it reaffirms our support to the sector in delivering vital public services. 2019 will see a contribution from my Department’s Vote to the Local Government Fund of €185 million – an increase of €60 million on 2018. This will provide significant additional support to the local government sector in providing a range of essential services at local level, including assistance towards increased pay/pensions costs arising under national pay agreements and resources for certain local government initiatives across the country. There will also be an increase of €2 million in capital investment in fire and emergency services, bringing the total to over €11 million in 2019.’
Minister of State, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran said: ‘The Budget 2019 allocation of €446m to the OPW will support the development and implementation of comprehensive policies, strategies and defences for mitigating flood risk and its impact on people, property and infrastructure and the achievement of appropriate standards for the management of State building, including heritage under the remit of the OPW. I am delighted to be here in Athlone with Finance Minister, Paschal Donohoe, to discuss the Budget and our plans for the coming year’.