A budget wrapped around an election

A budget wrapped around an election
Brendan Howlin, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, and Michael Noonan, Minister for Finance, presenting this year’s budget. Picture: Bryan Meade

Did Michael Noonan’s budget last Tuesday try too hard to please everyone?

In late 2010, as the late Brian Lenihan jnr unveiled yet another budget of biting austerity, he walked into the Oireachtas television studio to debate Michael Noonan on live television. Noonan, who had just been reinstated to the Fine Gael front bench following a botched coup against Enda Kenny, calmly and methodically filleted the budget. He argued that Lenihan, in his haste to make the numbers add up, had not “politically costed” the budget.

It was...

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