Irish government accused over cuts
The Irish Government has been accused of dashing the hopes of struggling families with stealth charges and spending cuts.
Opposition parties claimed Fine Gael and Labour failed to give any hope to the unemployed across the country and left people crying out for fairness.
Fianna Fail's Michael McGrath claimed it will take people days to discover the many unpleasant surprises and social rate cuts buried in the detail of Budget 2012.
"Its impact will be felt hardest by low and middle income families with children, by young people with disabilities, by vulnerable elderly people, and by students trying to build a better future," he said.
"You had the option of closing loopholes and targeting higher income earners. Instead you have played your trump card by increasing Vat in the first year of the Government's five year life."
Mr McGrath said the Government would now be judged on their own actions, and could no longer hide behind the decisions of the previous Fianna Fail/Green Party coalition.
He said the EU and IMF didn't tell the Government to cut child benefit for third and subsequent children; to increase the Drug Payment Scheme threshold, to cut the fuel allowance to vulnerable elderly people, and to breach its own pay cap to give one of its special advisers a 35,000 euro pay rise.
"These were political choices made by Fine Gael and Labour," he added.
Sinn Fein's Pearse Doherty accused the Cabinet of making a litany of broken promises since elected nine months ago.
He maintained Fine Gael and Labour had dashed the hopes of voters who put their faith in them for change.