Papers reveal political wrangling behind State's boom-time giveaway budget
Total demands for current spending should be reduced by £504 million and capital spending by £785 million, he demanded.
In a memo dated October 19th, 1999, McCreevy said sufficient proposals for reductions on demands had not been put forward by ministers.
He proposed a compromise that departmental spending current expenditure demands should be reduced by £243 million and those for capital spending by £313 million.
He noted that allocations decided on this basis would be “substantially above the July limits” and said it was essential ministers agreed to frame their 2000 estimates on the basis of these new limits and not seek to breach them.
Agreement on reductions was reached with all ministers except the then minister for justice John O’Donoghue, according to a government memo dated October 27th, 1999.
O’Donoghue eventually negotiated a lower cut than McCreevy went on to propose.
McCreevy announced the controversial decentralisation programme in the budget of 2004.
He left domestic politics after being nominated as a European commissioner in July 2004.
Ireland adopted the euro currency on January 1st, 2002.
Cabinet papers 10-year rule
The 10-year Freedom of Information rule relating to cabinet papers are protected under section 19 (1) of the Freedom of Information Act.
However, records covered by section 19 (1) that were created on or after April 21st, 1998, and which are at least 10 years old when an FoI request for their release is received, are eligible for release, unless other specific exemptions in the FoI legislation apply to them.
Protection for cabinet records was extended from five to 10 years in 2003.
The then minister for finance Charlie McCreevy said he agreed with the then taoiseach Bertie Ahern that while 30 years was too long a period to restrict information, five years was too short.
Reeling in the Boom Budget 2000
- Maximum weekly personal rates for all old-age and related pensions were increased by £7 per week, with other rates to be increased by £4 per week.
- Child benefit was increased by £10 per month for the third and subsequent children.
- Family income supplement thresholds were increased by £13 per week. Back-to-school clothing and footwear allowance was increased by £20.
- The centenarian’s benefit was increased from £500 to £1,000, with a death grant of £1,000 to be paid on bereavements.
- Cigarettes went up by 50 pence per 20 packet.
- A cut in the top rate of tax from 46 per cent to 44 per cent and a cut in the standard rate from 24 per cent to 22 per cent were announced. These tax reductions meant single people on PAYE on the average industrial wage saw their income tax cut by nearly £20 per week and married couples with both spouses working gained almost £40 per week.
- Basic personal allowances were being increased by £500 for the single person and £1,000 for married couples. Special allowances were doubled.
- The tax bands were widened with an increase of £3,000 at the standard rate for single or widowed persons and £6,000 for married couples on two incomes.