Kenny: Ireland remains in crisis
Ireland remains in crisis, the country's prime minister Enda Kenny has warned.
On the eve of the Irish budget, Mr Kenny addressed the nation to tell the public they are not to blame for the economic collapse.
The prime minister warned that Ireland is spending 16bn euro (£13.7bn) more that it is taking in from taxes.
"Let me say this to you, you are not responsible for this crisis," said Mr Kenny. "My Government is determined that now the necessary decision and challenges are made to ensure that this is never allowed to happen again."
The historic address was the first of its kind in three decades. Charles J Haughey made a similar appeal in 1980 when he claimed the country was living beyond its means, and before him, prime ministers Jack Lynch and Garret Fitzgerald delivered their own addresses.
The second part of the Budget will be announced on Tuesday, which marks the 90th anniversary of the signing of the Irish Treaty and the creation of the Free State.
Mr Kenny said he chose to address the Irish people directly as the nation faces such a crisis - as a community, as an economy and as a country.
"I know this is an exceptional event," he said. "But we live in exceptional times. And we face an exceptional challenge."
He also warned that the spending cuts and tax hikes, which will be announced on Monday and Tuesday respectively, would be difficult for the nation.
"I do not for a moment want to make it sound simplistic or painless. It is not," he said. "We are on a four year path to recovery. This, our first Budget, is a necessary step, but it will include cuts to many worthwhile projects."