Minister for Finance Michael Noonan: held out the prospect of doing “something” for hard-pressed middle-income earners but the scope appears limited unless the Government defies Brussels. Photograph: David Sleator

Analysis: after ESRI’s upbeat forecast, Stability Pact Update bursts bubble that austerity is behind us

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has pledged to do “something” for struggling middle-income earners in the budget

Minister insists easing tax burden not incompatible with €2bn adjustment target

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan  arriving at the Department of Finance. The Government’s debt position was slightly better than department forecasts.  Photograph: Cyril Byrne /Irish Times

End-year figure slightly better than forecast because of inclusion of share divident from AIB

The ESRI’s Prof John FitzGerald said yesterday the Government had only “limited scope” for tax breaks. Photograph: Alan Betson

Economic think thank warns only limited scope for tax breaks in upcoming budget

Net income at the bank fell to $5.27 billion, or $1.28 per share, from $6.53 billion, or $1.59 per share, in the same quarter of 2013, JPMorgan Chase said yesterday. Photograph: Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

Bank posts worse-than-expected numbers amid climate of uncertainty about US recovery

John Fitzgerald of the ESRI. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Economic think tank says recovery now taking hold in several sectors of economy

John Fitzgerald of the ESRI. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

It is hard to reconcile the employment growth with the contraction in GDP

Prof John Fitzgerald at the ESRI’s quarterly economic commentary. He said house-building rates in the economy were now lower than at any time in the last three decades. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Post-crash economy now recovering ‘quite vigorously’, according to economic think tank

Government will provide €11.7 million to bring 20 US-patented technologies to market

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