Pat Leahy: Budget was centrist, incrementalist – and looking nervously over at Sinn Féin

Donohoe and McGrath held the line as fiscal position improved in recent days

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe and Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath: The fact the package did not grow as the improving state of the public finances  became clear means they  won a few internal battles. Photograph: Julien Behal/PA

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe and Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath: The fact the package did not grow as the improving state of the public finances became clear means they won a few internal battles. Photograph: Julien Behal/PA

Not another Covid budget, but not a normal budget either. Budget 2022 is a bridge between the economics and politics of Covid, and the post-pandemic world into which Irish society and the coalition that governs it are moving.

That era will see a bigger State, as many of the pandemic-era spending allocations are substantially retained by government departments such as health and education (the Department of Health, for example, retains almost all of the €4 billion extra it received last year).

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