Stephen Collins: Brexit gave Paschal Donohoe the opportunity to bring in a sensible budget

Fine Gael colleagues disappointed over absence of new measures to reduce income tax

  Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe:  almost every lobby group and NGO in the country  called for  spending  increases in Budget 2020. Photograph:  Brian Lawless/PA

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe: almost every lobby group and NGO in the country called for spending increases in Budget 2020. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA

The one silver lining from Brexit is that it gave Paschal Donohoe the opportunity to bring in a sensible budget. It provided the Minister for Finance with a cast-iron excuse to resist the chorus of demands for extra spending from every vested interest group in the country, political opponents and, most crucially of all, his own Cabinet colleagues.

Following the strictures of the Fiscal Advisory Council and the Central Bank about the dangers of going back down the road that brought the country to the brink of financial ruin just a decade ago, the Minister needed to put a tight lid on spending. He also had to resist demands from Fine Gael colleagues, including Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, to reduce tax on hard-pressed middle-income earners in what will almost certainly be an election year.

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