Taoiseach Leo Varadkar signalled he wanted to see tax cuts in the forthcoming Budget, as he continued his visit to the United States.
Speaking at the Irish Arts Centre in New York on Friday, he said his priority had been the reduction in income tax and universal social charge (USC).
He said the introduction of a third rate of taxation was not something for which he had been pushing very hard.
“The priority for me is that we reduce income tax and USC, that people get to keep more of the money there. I know there are some people in politics, particularly on the left, who believe that a tax cut is the Government giving you money. It’s not. A tax cut is the Government [allowing] you keep more of the money you earned in the first place.”
“And that’s why I think it is important that at a time when we can afford it, that we reduce income tax and USC, particularly for middle income workers, who are the ones that pay the most, and I am confident we will make some more progress on that in the forthcoming Budget.”
Mr Varadkar also said there would be financial supports announced in the Budget to help families to pay their energy bills this winter. He said prices had fallen, but not to the level which the Government would like to see.
The Taoiseach also said that arts and sport were the way the Irish diaspora around the world kept in touch with home and those who do not have any Irish heritage became connected to Ireland for the first time.
Mr Varadkar announced an additional €2 million in funding for the Irish Arts Center in New York City.
He said arts and sports were “an important part of who we are and is also something we can leverage to serve economic and political objectives as well”.