While the gains are modest enough, the key point is that the largesse is spread around to the greatest extent possible in order to maximise political impact.

Emphasis is on providing a return to taxpayers who funded recovery effort

Michael Noonan delivering the Budget in the Dáil on Tuesday

A 50 cents rise in cost of 20 cigarettes - effective from midnight - is only tax increase

Brendan Howlin, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform and Michael Noonan, Minister for Finance speaking to media after the publication of End of September 2015 Exchequer Returns at the Department of Finance. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Minister for Finance expected to announce USC concessions in the region of €600m

Michael Noonan: the 2016 budget will be presented with the promise of more to come in 2017 and 2018 if the Government is re-elected. Photograph: Geert Vanden Wijngaert/AP Photo

Entire package to ensure at least some benefit of recovery goes to every home in State

Tánaiste Joan Burton with Taoiseach Enda Kenny: Mr Kenny declined again to shut down speculation about a November poll. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Government indicates a Christmas welfare bonus of 60 per cent is on the cards this year

Michael Noonan has been told by Nama that it is willing to step up construction.

Budget 2016: Government considers proposal along with increases to allowances

 Robert Watt, Secretary-General at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

Michael Noonan to nominate Robert Watt or Philip Lane as successor to Honohan

 Finance Minister Michael Noonan: Budget 2016 and  the general election are inextricably linked. Photograph: Julien Warnand/EPA

Recovery is underway in earnest but public finances remain constrained

The only new tax increase to be announced by the Minister for Finance Michael Noonan will be an increase in the price of tobacco.

Coalition sources rule out increase in tax on diesel and petrol in Tuesday’s budget

A senior Department of Finance official has expressed anxiety about the “imbalance” in the housing market. Photograph: Frank Miller

Chief economist John McCarthy told the Oireachtas finance committee of shortfall

Pedro Passos Coelho looks set to form a minority government after winning the election but losing his parliamentary majority

Brendan Howlin and Michael Noonan: may stay on in current jobs if election is won. Photograph: Alan Betson

Taoiseach still not prepared to say whether election will be held before end of this year

Lloyds Banking Group was up 0.7p to 77.3p after the chancellor said the government would sell £2 billion worth of shares to retail investors at a 5 per cent discount to the market price. Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Irish market takes its lead from Europe as monetary conditions expected to continue

Patrick Honohan’s successor may not be nominated until after budget meeting

Announcing the Central Bank figures yesterday were  chief economist Gabriel Fagan (left) and deputy head of research Luca Onorante. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Coalition can afford to make supplementary budget estimates and still beat fiscal targets

Austrian activist Max Schrems: the case he brought is sensitive for Dublin because many US tech firms have European headquarters in Ireland. Photograph: Christian Bruna/AFP/Getty Images

Government plea as European court set to rule on data transfers between EU and US

The latest figures show tax receipts for the first nine months of 2015 totalled €31.6 million, €1.7 billion or 5.8 per cent ahead above profile and up €2.7 billion or 9.5 per cent on an annual basis.

Government believes GDP on track to rise 6.2% this year as tax revenues surge

Increased spending marks a  greater acceptance of the narrative of recovery, even if many find they’re still not seeing it (or enough of it) in their own lives. Photograph: Tim Boyle/Getty Images

Increases in sales of furniture and white goods point to the release of pent-up demand

 Exchequer figures released on  Friday will show that tax payments in September beat the official target by more than €300 million. File photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

Partial restoration of Christmas bonus and €600m extra for health on cards

Ibec chief executive Danny McCoy says the question of stability was foremost in the minds  business leaders. Photograph: Eric Luke

Ibec chief Danny McCoy calls on politicians to embrace ambitious economic plans

Capital investment plan: Strategy outlined as domestic economy recovers. Photograph: Getty Images

Government confident recovery will fuel tax receipts significantly and generate resources

The Economic and Social Research Institute said it would be better to pass a “neutral budget”. Photograph: The Irish Times

Rapidly expanding economy has no need for further stimulus, think tank tells Coalition

One suggestion is that the scheme would be confined to properties priced in the region of €300,000. Photograph: Reuters

In move to provide 15,000 homes annually councils would have to forgo €100m per year

“Tax cuts and lower oil prices have increased consumer spending, and the weak euro has helped competitiveness, with exports benefitting”

Davy’s chief economist sees recovery spreading into domestic economy after export-led turnaround

 Minister for Finance Michael Noonan. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Officials are looking for ways to make greater concessions than the agreed limit of €750m

High drug costs were a constant source of complaint within the troika during the  bailout and such concerns persist. Photograph: Getty Images

The imperative remains to cut the cost of pharmaceuticals

Search constraints: The expansion of Google’s Irish operation to 650,000sq ft from a base of 5,000sq ft in 2003 was cited by the ESRI as an example of rapid occupier expansion. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Wait of up to two years to facilitate new employer with 500 staff indicated in report

Irish Tax Institute president Mary Honohan, policy director Cora O’Brien and communications director Olivia Buckley making their pre-budget submission in Dublin yesterday. Photograph; Julien Behal/Maxwells

Cuts likely to help ‘middle Ireland’

 Central Bank building in Dublin. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Bank responds to Michael Noonan’s call for review of loan limits for starter homes

CRH office nameplate on Fitzwilliam Square. CRH finished down 1.64 per cent at €25.75. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

International sentiment drives CRH, Smurfit Kappa and food sector lower

That the politics of Europe’s migration crisis are terrible is self-evident, but the question of economic impact also arises. That is the dismal task of a dismal science. Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Europe needs 50 million new workers and 28 co-operative governments

Michael Noonan said the expanding economy could continue growing for a decade. Photograph: The Irish Times

Minister to ask Central Bank to examine credit limits ‘inhibiting starter homes’

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan: “I’m laying plans out that extend beyond the election – so the next minister can take them up if I’m not here. It’s continuity of planning rather than continuity of personnel I’m primarily interested in.”

Minister for Finance’s economic vision is for even growth, balanced budgets and rules-based policies

The Fiscal Advisory Council asked for a “realistic” medium-term plan on budget day. Photograph: The Irish Times

Fiscal Advisory Council warns against expanding package beyond ‘prudent policy’

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Noonan spurns Ministers’ demands as Kenny says ‘We are not going to blow the recovery’

Secretary general Ángel Gurría and Minister for Finance Michael Noonan at the presentation of the OECD report. Photograph: Eric Luke

Development body backs enlarged budget but warns on dangers of high national debt

Ireland’s deficit and debt ratios are coming down quickly. But theOECD says the Government should do more

Analysis: New assessment to aid Ministers as they face pressure to increase Budget tax cuts

Emergency laws were passed to  establish  the National Asset Management Agency. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

The list of drastic moves by the Government and its predecessor is as long as it is dispiriting

Budget 2016: The clamour to increase funding across ministerial portfolios will intensify political pressure on Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin as he strives to divide a limited pot. File photograph: Sara Freund/The Irish Times

Spending on further 900 teachers and 500 Garda trainees sought by Ministers

 David O’Sullivan: said ‘impressive package’ on migration will be unveiled. Photograph: Sara Freund

On visit to Dublin, EU ambassador to the US David O’Sullivan dismisses criticism

The affair centres on claims by Independent TD Mick Wallace that a politician or party was to gain up to £7 million in the deal. Photograph: The Irish Times

US firm Cerberus acquired Nama’s 850-property portfolio last year for £1.3bn

Pedestrians walk past an  Allied Irish Banks branch : the bank wants to buy back former 10 branches: Photograph: Crispin Rodwell/Bloomberg

Original 12-branch portfolio sold for €100m in 2006 now has price tag of €48m

The Federal Reserve building in Washington DC with vehicles streaking past: finance expert Bill Gross said the Federal Reserve has waited so long to raise interest rates that a move now may be labeled ‘too little too late’. Photograph: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Prospect of interest-rate increase by Federal Reserve kept alive by report

There’s an element in the HSE’s stance regarding funding  of asking the Government  for a good deal more than is feasible to maximise the negotiating hand, but it’s not particularly becoming. File photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Poor budgeting and insatiable demand for more money make for recurrent nightmare

European Central Bank president Mario Draghi says the risks to the euro area growth outlook remain on the downside. Photograph: Reuters

Quantitative easing will continue until the end of programme ‘or beyond, if necessary”

Ireland’s economy grows stronger every year. But recoveries happen more slowly than crashes, and cuts take years to reverse. A new(...)

The creation of Alphabet will split the core, highly profitable search engine and advertising business from Google’s riskier “moonshoot” projects. Photograph: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Search giant claims the restructuring will have no implications for the Irish division

Election footing: This year or next? A finely balanced decision looms. Photograph: Getty Images

State saved, the troika banished, confidence restored . . . Yet dividends decidedly modest

The big boost from the figures is coming from rising corporation tax receipts. Photograph: Getty Images

With increased departmental expenditure, the lack of consequent savings is all too clear

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan that he  expects  tax returns to come in €1.4 billion ahead of expectations by the end of the year. Photograph: Eric Luke

Corporations contribute more than €650m to €900m excess in tax receipts

Michael Noonan’s department said corporation tax receipts were €653m above target  Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Public finances boosted by surge in corporation tax receipts

Central Bank research has found that two-thirds of Irish firms that reduced hours in 2008-2009 also laid off staff, as did half the firms which cut hours between 2010 and 2013. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Incidence of pay cuts second only to Estonia, Central Bank finds

Avolon founder Domhnal Slattery. Bohai Leasing’s for the bid aircraft leasing group values Mr Slattery’s personal stake in the business at about €31 million. Photograph: Eric Luke

China Investment Corp is key backer of bid for Dublin-based aircraft leasing body

Recovery: After years of uncertainty, growth is gaining traction. Photograph: Getty Images

Domestic expenditure accelerating which indicates solid sense of economic confidence

The appointment of Prof Honohan, an academic economist, was a break from tradition. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Secretary general of Department of Public Expenditure is favourite to win race

A revision of data for 2014 by the Central Statistics Office found the economy grew at a faster rate than previously recorded. Photograph: Getty Images

Revision of 2014 by CSO reveals value of activity rising to pre-crash levels

 Minister for Finance Michael Noonan: the CSO data reopens scope for political pressure to increase the recovery dividend. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Recovery is deepening and the progress improves Ireland’s fiscal dynamics, says CSO

Construction is included in the industrial activity which has seen a year-on-year rise

Exports repeat strong growth with 12.3% rise and industrial activity up 9% year-on-year

New numbers likely to spur calls for larger budget package from Michael Noonan Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Revisions to GDP figures will make fiscal targets more achievable

GDP grew 1.4 per cent in the first quarter of 2015 compared with the final quarter of 2014. But GNP, which strips out the impact of multinational profit flows, declined 0.8 per cent quarter-on-quarter

New figures show sharp rise of GDP and GNP in first quarter

Ciarán Lynch: Mario Draghi blamed comments by the inquiry chairman  for the withdrawal of the offer. Photograph: Martin Leissl/Bloomberg

Vice-president Vítor Constâncio previously agreed to make Oireachtas appearance

The Central Bank’s assessment of economic conditions is cautiously positive. Photograph: The Irish Times

Assessment of economic temperature positive with forecast jobless figure to hit 9.7%

Central Bank chief economist Gabriel Fagan, and Gillian Phelan, head of monetary policy, at the press conference on the Central Bank’s Quarterly Bulletin. Photograph: Eric Luke

Bank says money would be better spent paying down the national debt

Tánaiste Joan Burton TD and Taoiseach and Fine Gael: the country’s deficit and debt levels will now be a little higher than foreseen. Photograph: RollingNews.ie

The Coalition is insisting that the ruling will make little difference to its budgetary plans

Employers group Ibec said steps were needed to cut the higher marginal tax rate and the number of workers who pay it. It also called for an overhaul of childcare. Photograph: Getty Images

Pre-budget submission urges investment to address Ireland’s infrastructural needs

The State’s new sovereign investment fund is set to enter the private residential property market in a €500 million plan. File photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

NTMA will manage venture in plan to provide large loans to housing developers

Dermot O’Leary, chief economist at Goodbody stockbrokers. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill

Construction investment forecast to overtake business investment

NTMA Chief Executive Officer Conor O’Kelly: “The statistic I like to use on this is that that funding has been done at double the maturity of last year and at half the yield. Photograph: Sara Freund

The NTMA tried to differentiate Irish debt from that of other crisis-struck countries

Minister of Finance Michael Noonan at the press briefing for the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) annual report for 2015. Photograph: Sara Freund / The Irish Times

NTMA plans to focus on smoothing out €35bn in repayment ‘chimneys’ of national debt between 2018 and 2020

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tánaiste Joan Burton with Government Ministers at the final Cabinet meeting before the summer recess in Lissadell House, Sligo. Photograph: The Irish Times

Homeowners assured by Minister for Finance that property tax will be frozen in 2017

Prof Alan Barrett’s overview notes a “degree of consensus” around the fiscal stance. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

Alan Barrett says three-way division between current and capital spending and tax cuts would better meet delegates’ demands

Incoming chief of the ESRI Prof Alan Barrett said we need a discussion of what the tax take should be. Photograph: Getty Images

Consideration required on level of public services, says economic talks chairman

Valeo chief commercial officer Oliver Sutherland (left) with a fifth-generation miller, Nigel Odlum. Photograph: Chris Bellew/Fennell Photography

Investment part of efforts to build export market for Odlums

Gina Quin,  Dublin Chamber of Commerce chief executive: “If each of the 80,000 micro-businesses in Ireland hired just one extra person, it would bring the unemployment rate down by a third.” Photograph: Brendan Duffy

Pre-budget submissions says smaller firms should benefit from three-year waiver of employers’ PRSI for each new staff member

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan. Photograph: Stephanie Lecocq/EPA

Stormont wants Minister to compel agency to attend hearing

EU commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis, speaks at a news conference on Wednesday. He has confirmed the troika is to return to Greece for negotiations. Photograph: Julien Warnand/EPA

IMF managing director Christine Lagarde reiterated her call for substantial debt relief

At great cost to Alexis Tsipras, a bailout agreement was secured to avoid default on ECB debts. But this is sticking-plaster stuff really. Photograph: Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters

Lack of appreciable debt cut and investor confidence will hamper bailout’s effect

Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the national economic dialogue conference at Dublin Castle. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Workers’ groups lobby for increased funds for services at national economic dialogue

The EU Commission says   the outline plan to achieve a budget deficit of 1.7% of GDP in 2016 was predicated on €1.2bn in expansionary measures. John Macdougall/AFP/Getty Images

Government’s plans for expansionary budget implicitly criticised by EU body

The Central Bank paints a dire picture of an institution lending large volumes of money with scant regard for its rules or anyone else’s

The Central Bank confirms what we suspected about the bank’s management

The new Central Bank inquiry follows a five-year investigation into INBS’s lending practices by the Central Bank

Central Bank launches inquiry into how individuals at INBS contributed to collapse

The revision to reflect aircraft leasing is not projected to change the totality of Irish economic output as measured by GDP and gross national product (GNP)

Leasing firms established in State account for some 10% of the world’s civilian aircraft

Taoiseach Enda Kenny: will open  two days of budget talks beginning on Wednesday in Dublin Castle.  Photograph: Thierry Charlier/AFP/Getty Images

External groups may have their say at Dublin Castle but the budget die is cast

Royal Bank of Scotland fell 1.9 per cent, hit by news the bank may need to pay $13bn to settle claims  it misled investors. Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Traders mark down assets ahead of vote referendum dominates business

 US House  speaker John  Boehner: says Taoiseach Enda Kenny has harangued him, telling him how the lack of   reform has left some Irish immigrants listening to a parent’s funeral by phone. Photograph: Julien Behal/Maxwells

US House speaker says he determined is to overcome Republican resistance to reform

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan: In the first six months of 2015 income tax receipts reached €8.3 billion.  The €2.3 billion increase between 2007 and 2015 amounts to a heavy additional burden on a cohort of workers that is still smaller than before the crisis struck. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Exchequer figures show tax receipts to June came in ahead of €20 billion

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan: exchequer returns for the first half of the year showed that tax payments were some €800 million ahead of target. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Minister for Finance says uncertainty over Greece will have ‘second-round’ risk to Irish economy only

Michael Noonan’s department said the exchequer balance had been enhanced by  a number of one-off transactions    Photograph:  Nick Bradshaw / The Irish Times

Total returns between January and June exceeded €20bn for first time since 2007

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras addressing the nation  from his office in Athens, Greece, 1st July 2015. Photograph: EPA/Andrea Bonetti/Prime minister of Greece press office

Blackmail or a credible proposals? Tsipras’s words and actions continue to baffle and annoy onlookers

Police stand guard as a woman withdraws money from an  in Athens on Thursday  during a demonstration supporting the No vote for the upcoming referendum on Greece’s bailout terms. Photograph: Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP/Getty Images.

Days after default, IMF says Athens needs debt relief and €50bn in new financing

A woman watches Greece’s prime minister Alexis Tsipras’ TV announcement in a electronics shop in central Athens. The people will vote in a referendum on the rescue plan for their country on Sunday. Photograph: EPA

Alexis Tsipras offers big concessions to creditors but backtracks within hours

A seagull flies over a Greek national flag during a demonstration in Athens. Photograph: Yorgos Karahalis/Bloomberg.

If not paid in July, the ECB could pull the plug on Greece’s banking system

Pro-Euro protesters hold a large European flag reading “Yes” in front of the parliament building in Athens on Tuesday evening. Photograph: Getty

Jeroen Dijsselbloem says country’s stance towards its creditors would have to change

Pensioners waiting outside a closed National Bank branch and hoping to get their pensions, argue with a bank employee in Iraklio in Crete. Photograph: Stefanos Rapanis/Reuters

France trying to get Greece back into negotiations as bailout nears expiration

A street vendor sells  flags in front of the Greek parliamnet in Athens. Photograph / Louisa Gouliamakilouisa Gouliamaki/AFP/Getty Images

The question is will the Greek crisis damage Ireland?

People march in Athens  on June 28th, 2015 during a demonstration calling for a ‘No’ in the  referendum on funding proposals from Greece’s creditors and for Greece’s exit from the euro zone. Photograph: Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP/Getty Images

Coalition discusses contingency plans after chaotic breakdown in debt talks

Anti-EU graffiti in Athens: banks in Greece are closed today, with no word on when they might reopen. Photograph: Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters

Nightmare scenario on the cards as weak countries face immediate threat of contagion

Recruitment agencies are targeting skilled Irish emigrants in Australia, New Zealand, Dubai and Canada to return home to pursue job opportunities in the recovering construction sector

CSO figures point to shortages of site managers and engineers across sector

IMF managing director Christine Lagarde greets Greece’s finance minister Yanis Varoufakis. The IMF has been pushing for pension cuts in Greece. Photograph:  Thierry Charlier/Getty Images

Syriza leader could lose rejectionist MPs in a parliamentary vote

John Moran: “Do we really have the right structures as a State to encourage wide-ranging, cross-disciplinary debate about future spending priorities or infrastructural needs or the structures of our economy?”

It is the department’s role to act as a bulwark against political flights of fiscal fancy

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