Although the document is decidedly social in its tone, its abundant promises still cost money

Suspension of water charges puts further fiscal burden on administration

According to the draft programme, new investment in public services will allow the new government to recruit additional front-line service professional such as doctors, nurses, gardaí, teachers, and social workers within a reformed and better-managed public service.

Draft programme outlines commitments running up to 2021

There is no real cause of alarm in that figure: the collection of €4.16 billion in VAT was still ahead of the opening four months of 2015. Although domestic demand drove the most recent phase of recovery, the VAT figures shows that consumers are spending somewhat less than anticipated even after an income tax cut in January.

Some difficult decisions await incoming government

The State collected €14.04 billion in the first third of the year, €1.17 billion more than in 2015 and €475 million more than forecast by the Department of Finance.

Exchequer returns show a VAT shortfall but revenue is well ahead of target

The CSO questioned the logic and consistency of the ruling that a preference share conversion in the nationalised AIB should be classified as a government expenditure. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Decision by EU agency led to bigger deficit for 2015 than estimated by Government

Sterling’s decline in February provides a kind of foretaste of what might well be in store after a vote to leave the EU when the conditions under which the Brexit actually happened would still be unclear. Photograph:  Toby Melville/Reuters

Questions arise over outlook for trade flows, the Border and foreign direct investment

Central Bank governor Philip Lane dismisses notion of statutory limits on mortgage interest rates. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Philip Lane says any legislation to curtail rates could deter potential market entrants

Jose Angel Gurria, secretary-general of the OECD, holds up his organisation’s policy paper on the effects of Brexit during a speech at the London School of Economics on Wednesday. It became the latest international body to warn the UK that leaving the European Union would cause lasting damage to the economy. Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Note for TDs and Senators identifies threats to trade and financial markets

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said there were many mechanisms to secure money from those who have not paid water charges,  including attachment orders. File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Micheál Martin says FF position is that those who have not paid charges should be pursued

Leo Varadkar, Frances Fitzgerald, Pascal Donohoe and Simon Coveney leaving Trinity College Dublin: The emerging water deal will see a commission of experts established to examine issues such as alternative charging systems. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Ministers tell FG backbenchers deal with FF only prospect of saving Irish Water

The dangers are more acute now than at any time since the height of the global crisis, the department warned.  For one thing, the Brexit referendum looms. Photograph: Andrew Yates/Reuters

Dangers to growth more acute now than at any time since height of the global crisis

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan arriving for talks on government formation, at Trinity College Dublin, yesterday. The prospect of more money becoming available may ease the task of forming a government. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Prospect of more money becoming available may ease the task of forming a government

Fine Gael TDs Paschal Donohoe, Leo Varadkar, Simon Coveney and Frances Fitzgerald arriving for talks on government formation at Trinity College Dublin. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil at odds over length of any water charge suspension period

Eurostat’s decision  could mean the next government will be under marginally less pressure in coming years to keep public spending in check.  Photograph: Alan Betson

Statistical ruling on AIB share transaction means there is additional money available

Peter Sutherland: It would be “profoundly misplaced” for Ireland to review its own EU membership if Britain votes to leave. Photograph: Gary O’Neill

Ex-EU commissioner says if Leave side wins ‘then a lot of issues will begin to crystallise’

The Central Bank took the benefit last year of large capital gain as it stepped up the sale of bonds held after the 2013 deal to scrap the Anglo promissory note scheme

Dame Street institution reported €2.1 billion surplus on its operations in 2014

Micheál Martin and Enda Kenny: as talks continue there are fears that the absence of a government with decision-making powers means  policy problems are piling up and there are also concerns about the inherent frailty of any minority administration. File photograph: Aidan Crawley

Bickering over the next government brings concerns that lack of a deal could end badly

Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank: insisted the quantitative easing programme was working and interest rates would remain at record low levels for a long time. Photograph: Arne Dedert/EPA

Mario Draghi says criticism of interest rate may be ‘endangering’ bank’s independence

A new report has found Irish business borrowers are paying 80 per cent more for modest commercial loans than the euro zone average. Photograph:  Aidan Crawley/Bloomberg

Competitiveness council warns of major risks from dysfunctional property market

A campaign placard  at a ‘Vote Leave’ rally in Newcastle upon Tyne. Photograph: Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

Jens Zimmermann says Germany would lose balancing force if Britain left EU

The Government was obliged to comply with a 2010 European recommendationto bring the deficit to a maximum of 2.9 per cent by the end of 2015

Eurostat ruling means State recorded deficit of 2.3% of GDP

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan. The 10 largest insurers wrote to him late last year calling for urgent action following the collapse of Setanta Insurance.

Insurance firms want Government to settle serious legal questions

 Stephen Crabb: The  British secretary of state for work and pensions said that, if a post- Brexit UK was relying on its membership of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to regulate trade with the EU, it would have to offer the same terms to all WTO members. Photograph:  Carl Court/Getty Images

British work and pensions secretary Stephen Crabb warns of likely trade barriers

GDP has increased by almost 20% from the trough, ratings agency says, including ‘an exceptionally strong performance in 2015 when(...)

Stormont: the report says there could be a  greater devolution of economic powers to Stormont at a time when Northern Ireland would be looking for a greater helping hand from Westminster to make up for its EU losses

The agricultural sector is at most risk from leaving EU, according to stockbrokers

European Central Bank chairman Mario Draghi: is accused in Berlin of stoking the march of the anti-euro Alternative for Germany party in recent state elections. Photograph: Antonio Cotrim/EPA

ECB boss back at loggerheads with his German foes

 If the credibility of prime minister David Cameron was cast from the outset as something of a silver bullet on the Remain side, his blundering response to the Panama leak delivered a deep self-inflicted wound. Photograph: Dan Kitwood/PA Wire

Any agreement must allow for fact situation could fundamentally change within months

Apple and other large tech firms such as Google, Dell and Microsoft rank among hundreds of international groups with big Irish operations. Photograph:Kimihiro Hoshino/AFP/Getty Images

Firms will have to publish revenue, profit and tax payments in each member state

 European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker: the likely State breach of the legal deadline for the submission of the “SPU” to the  commission comes amid a growing backlog in official business in the interregnum since the February election. Photograph: Olivier Hoslet/EPA

Backlog of official business grows as talks over forming government continue to drag on

European Central Bank chairman Mario Draghi: The ECB’s latest remarks on the Irish bonds came as Mr Draghi stressed the bank’s willingness to ease monetary policy again. Photograph: Antonio Cotrim/EPA

Irish bank got €25 billion portfolio in deal to scrap the Anglo promissory note scheme

US president Barack Obama:  when he won the 2008 election, he set out plans in his manifesto to make it a good deal more difficult for American firms to shelter overseas profits from the US tax authority and to incentivise job creation in the US. Photograph: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Obama’s move marks rare deployment of political power to subvert excessive tax ploys

Buy-to-let borrowers were more likely to be in negative equity than owner-occupiers, S&P found. Photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

New report finds loans from 2007 have 59% rate of negative equity

Rosneft revealed further losses in its main Irish division. Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Last week the Rosneft parent group reported a 2 per cent rise in its 2015 net profit

Alastair Campbell: “I’m making a guess here but most of the Irish business community are probably for Britain staying in.” Photograph: Getty Images

‘It’s a very, very significant event for the Irish economy,’ says former Blair adviser

Department of Finance principal officer John Palmer with assistant principal Brendan O’Leary, left, and Annette Connolly, principal officer at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, announcing the exchequer returns for the first quarter. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Fall in income tax receipts ‘impossible to diagnose’, says Department of Finance

Exchequer figures show health overspending last month but corporate tax payments push overall returns ahead of target

A Topaz petrol station in Ireland. File photograph: Dave Meehan

Petrol station chain was sold to Couche Tard in February

 Argentine president Mauricio Macri:  country returns to the markets after 15 years  of legal conflict between Argentina and holders of its defaulted debt. Photograph: EPA

New settlement is centrepiece of plan by Macri to revive the country’s economy

“In the short term uncertainty surrounding the outcome of the Brexit referendum could persuade UK households and companies to put off spending decisions until after the vote on June 23rd”

Stockbrokers note slump in UK consumer and business sentiment at start of year

The State’s first 100-year bond will be due for repayment during the bicentenary of the Rising

Bond carries an annual yield of 2.35 per cent and will be repaid during the bicentenary of the Rising

ECB preparations for referendum follow earlier work by the Central Bank of Ireland which revealed Brexit could have a negative impact on Ireland’s economy. Photograph: Getty Images

Bank of England warns on risk to fiscal stability in UK

Legal opinion commissioned by the utility company says the State is required under EU law to keep the contentious regime in place

Divisions over water becoming potential barrier to formation of government

Christoph Mueller tendered his resignation from the board of An Post to the Government last May. Photograph: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Government under pressure to conclude hiring of new chair

No matter how it is sliced, the option of Enda Kenny’s Fine Gael plus Independents and assorted others looks inherently vulnerable. Photgraph: Niall Carson/PA

Whatever makeshift arrangement emerges will be in a precarious position

Sharon  Donnery  was appointed deputy governor for central banking in succession to Stefan Gerlach.

Salary set in line with a ratio of deputy governor to governor of 1.00 to 1.15, which indicates salary of the governor, Prof Phili(...)

Lars Frisell, an adviser to Central Bank governor Philip Lane, defends home loan cap.

Regulator says financial sector unable on their own to uphold ‘prudent’ credit standards

Posters at the Britain Stronger In Europe campaign offices. Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Ireland could suffer major economic losses following Brexit, LSE research indicates

 The Brexit referendum in June could throw into doubt a multitude of assumptions about the road ahead for the Irish economy. Photograph:  Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Arthur Beesley: State’s finances are hugely exposed to global economic uncertainty

The Transatlantic Economy 2016 report found the sales of US affiliates in Ireland reached $313 billion (€276.59 billion) in 2013. Photograph: Philippe Wojazer/Reuters

Country one of the most attractive in the world for US companies, figures show

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar:  sought  20 per cent tax on sugar-sweetened drinks. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Charge introduced in British budget, and similar move championed by FF and FG

British chancellor George Osborne downgraded his growth forecasts for the next five years. Photograph: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Fund lukewarm on Central Bank’s readiness to relax mortgage lending restrictions

 European Central Bank   president Mario Draghi:  he said   interest rates will stay “very low for a long period of time”. Photograph: Martin Leissl/Bloomberg

Draghi aims to spur growth and inflation in euro zone and avert threat of deflation

Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank (ECB), pauses during a news conference to announce the bank’s interest rate decision at the ECB headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany, on Thursday. Photograph: Martin Leissl/Bloomberg

Data shows Ireland’s growth of 7.8 % as ECB’s Mario Draghi reduces interest rate to zero

Mario Draghi has made his most radical move yet.  Photograph: Bloomberg

Political leaders would do well to keep one eye on shaky global economy

Property market trends could revive the ‘unsustainable’ boom-era practice of long-distance commuting between Dublin and its hinterland, a new ESRI report has warned. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

New report warns prices could force Dublin buyers to seek housing beyond the city

The Irish economy faces a potential “tragedy” if the British people vote to the leave the EU in June, Allied Irish Banks chairman Richard Pym has said.

Richard Pym says people should be encouraging relatives in UK to vote

 Legacy: The total disposal of Anglo Irish Bank debt so far has reached  €3 billion. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Some €22n in bonds remain outstanding from the deal to scrap the promissory notes

European Central Bank (ECB) president Mario Draghi: he is widely expected to push the bank’s deposit rate deeper into negative territory on Thursday in a bid to encourage lending. Photograph:  Yves Herman/Reuters

Economist Isabel Schnabel warns there should be no more loosening of monetary policy

Revenue collected €7.2 billion from taxpayers in January and February.

Tax in January and February is up nearly €500m. Car sales are great and unemployment is down. But Ireland’s debts still constrict (...)

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin during the last TV debate  before the general election. Photograph: Tony Maxwell/PA Wire

Will the potential for political instability affect investor and consumer confidence?

 President George W Bush: “I earned capital in the campaign, political capital, and now I intend to spend it.”   Photograph:   Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images

Splintering of Dáil demands clear-headed assessment of what happens next

Exchequer figures released on wednesday afternoon by the Department of Finance show that Revenue collected €7.2 billion by the end of February, €478 million more than in the same period in 2015.

Exchequer returns show that Revenue collected €7.2bn by the end of February

European Central Bank president Mario Draghi: likely to act on poor euro zone data. Photograph: Eric Vidal/Reuters

ECB under pressure to take radical action after disappointing manufacturing figures

Kathrin Muehlbronner, lead analyst for Ireland at Moody’s, expects a period of uncertainty, possibly for several weeks, before a government is formed. Photograph: Scott Eells/Bloomberg

Result of vote unlikely to cause big change in Irish fiscal policy, says ratings agency

“The attitude is there’s nothing to see here, move on. I presume the international view is that we’re going to have a Fine Gael-Fianna Fáil coalition”

Pro-Europe stance of the main parties may keep investors happy

No certainties: Michael Noonan launches FG’s online income calculator in  the  campaign. Photograph: Alan Betson

Parties will find their scope constrained as they negotiate on tax and spending

The yield on Irish 10-year bonds closed yesterday at 0.86 per cent, down from 0.886 per cent at the close on Friday

Cost of State borrowing eases as Fitch says it expects further deficit reductions

Dermot O’Leary, Goodbody stockbrokers. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

FG and FF alignment seems to be the ‘only’ option, says Goodbody economist

Minister for Finance  Michael Noonan during the general election campaign. Photograph: Alan Betson

Second campaign would likely involve media ’air war’, not a ground offensive

The European Commission report  said potential new entrants into the mortgage market were probably deterred by the still-high level of non-performing loans and issues with access to property collateral underlying home loans. Photograph: Alan Betson.

Bailout reforms deemed not enough to remedy all problems resulting from crash

London-based analysts at HSBC said comparisons between Ireland and Spain were “superficially compelling” but “misleading”. Photograph: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Hung parliament would be no cause for alarm, say London-based analysts at HSBC

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams ,Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin and Tánaiste Joan Burton during the election debate on RTÉ Prime Time.  Photograph: Tony Maxwell/PA Wire

Serious strides forward have been made since worst of the debacle but failings remain

Antoin Murphy:  said Richard Cantillon could give expert lessons today on financial market strategy

Prof Antoin Murphy’s new translation of Cantillon’s ‘Essay on the Nature of Trade in General’ is published today in Tralee

Google’s large unit in Ireland – which serves as its headquaraters for Europe, the Middle East and Africa – bears the bulk of the tax liability on Google’s profits from sales in Britain and other big European markets.

At issue in inquiry was the allocation of Google’s British profits to the Irish operation

British prime minister David Cameron (R) and London mayor Boris Johnson: the Brexit referendum presents a cascade of economic and political dangers in the Irish setting. Photograph: Jack Taylor/AFP/Getty Images

Analysis: Cost of State borrowing up as future Irish government remains uncertain

Kevin Cardiff, former secretary general of the Department of Finance. Photograph: Alan Betson

Pressure on government over Aurelius Capital Management, says Kevin Cardiff in book

Google employs more than 2,200 people in Dublin, which serves as its headquarters for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Photograph: Getty Images

Scale of tech giant’s financial operations in Dublin revealed via papers filed in Holland

Traders  on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange prior to market close: Wall Street was lower in morning trade, snapping a three-day rally, after a slump in Wal-Mart weighed on retail stocks and oil prices retreated. Photograph:  Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images

FTSE lower on mining stocks and growing concern over possibility of British EU exit

Debt interest swept up 18.1 per cent of tax revenue in 2014. It was 19.4 per cent in 2013, practically €2 for every €10 the Revenue collected that year

No one is discussing the €6.98 billion that the State spent in 2015 to service national debt

 Minister for Finance Michael Noonan at Fine Gael Media HQ, in CHQ Building, Custom House Quay, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Michael Noonan claims rival party’s manifesto contains a ‘massive deception’

Rosneft-owned oil treatment facilities in Russia: Rosneft International’s ultimate parent is OJSC Rosneft Oil Company, whose chief executive Igor Sechin is a close ally of president Vladimir Putin. Photograph:  Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters

Dublin-based Rosneft International files annual accounts for the first time since 2012

Some respondents believe that if Britain does vote to leave, it will develop a relationship with the EU similar to what Switzerland and Norway have. Photograph: Neil Hall/Reuters

Uncertainty prevails until exact terms of any British exit from the EU are known

Brexit: British prime minister David Cameron will persist with his efforts to recast Britain’s membership of the union this week. Photograph: Thinkstock

Many firms devoid of corporate strategy to cope with British breakaway from the EU

In London, Rolls-Royce shares jumped more than 14 per cent after a well-received update. Photograph: Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images

Prospects for co-ordinated oil production cut underpin positive investor sentiment

Department of Justice files reveal Law Society and Bar Council communications

The papers of the the Tax Strategy Group, published on the Department of Finance website,  are not cast to inspire voters. Photograph:  Frank Miller

If you really want to know what’s going on take a look at the Tax Strategy Group papers

US treasury secretary Jack Lew: has called on the European Commission to reconsider the inquiries. Photograph: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

European Commission urged to reconsider inquiries into firm’s arrangements in Ireland

After an effective lobbying offensive by two of the most powerful professional bodies in the State, the final package was rather different to the original. Photograph: The Irish Times

Bar Council and Law Society determined to water down Legal Services Regulation Act

Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty: the party is promising to build 70,000 social housing units. Photograph: Alan Betson

Party takes as a given a Department of Finance forecast of 188,000 new jobs

Fianna Fáil’s Michael Mc Grath and Seán Fleming at the party’s economic policy announcement in Dublin. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Economic plans show a dash to cut USC but also some differences in approach

The Central Bank realised a €1 billion capital gain in 2015 on the disposal of government bonds, Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has said. File photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Government bonds sold at faster rate than minimum schedule agreed with ECB

Argument still surrounds the validity of figures deployed by particular parties but there is nothing to stop them setting out whatever “fiscal space” they wish. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Parties are vying to plan the spending of money the economy may not even earn

Investors use ratings agency standings to guide decisions on where to put their money

Move follows a positive reassessment of the prospects for strong economic growth

Cranes on the Dublin skyline. “One key point to recall in this panorama is that every single promise made on the hustings is predicated on a continuation of growth in Ireland, which itself depends on world growth.”

‘No one speaks of glittering growth; it’s all about the threat to insipid growth’

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and ministers, Richard Bruton, Simon Harris and Michael Noonan pictured  at the launch of Fine Gael’s long term economic plan. Photograph:  Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

Plan is based on 4.3% GDP growth in 2016 and 3.6% in 2017, down from 7% last year

“For every politician who says ‘my fiscal space is bigger than yours’, a rival is certain to say ‘that’s because you’re assuming no-one will grow old in the next few years’.” File photograph: Getty Images

We translate jargon so you don’t have to

The European Commission has revised Ireland’s minimum “medium-term objective”, providing more scope to cut tax or boost spending in that period. Photograph:  Francois Lenoir/Reuters

Move means next government can aim for structural deficit of 0.5% of GDP

Taoiseach Enda Kenny: going to  Áras an Uachtaráin on Wednesday to set a date for the election. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

Will strong VAT and car sales boost the Government in the run-up to the poll?

The January figures suggest tax collection continues to run ahead of target, although the full profile of expected monthly receipts will not be published until later this week.

Final figures before election show increase of €308m ( 7.3%) on same period in 2015

Paddy Power shares gained almost 4% in Dublin to close at €142.75 on the last day of trading before the merger

About €1bn in Paddy Power stock changes hands as imminent merger with Betfair sparks share auction

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