Dublin plans massive budget cuts
Families will be as much as £858.15 a year worse off in Ireland under massive austerity cutbacks.
In the first half of an unprecedented two-day Budget announcement, the government slashed child benefits, winter fuel, disability and back-to-school allowances.
Student fees were hiked up along with medical and school transport costs while a flat-rate property tax was introduced in the £1.2 billion package.
Brendan Howlin, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, warned there was no magic wand but claimed public support for the potentially crippling savings.
"It provides the stability necessary to plan and work our way out of this crisis. It won't be easy, and we will not resolve our problems overnight," he said.
"No government, whatever its numbers, wants to be the bearer of bad news. But our options are extremely limited. The public knows this. It is wary of those who offer simplistic options."
The hard-hitting cutbacks will be compounded tomorrow by a 2% VAT increase, fuel and motor tax hikes and new levies for employees holding property or stock investments.
A family of four can expect to suffer a £370.72 a year cut to their child benefit payments and soaring health insurance premiums as the state pulls out of private health subsidies - expected to force up insurance fees by about £429.08 a year.
The raft of other spending cutbacks - spread wide across allowances and Government departments - will take more than £858.15 a year out of average family budgets.
Mr Howlin claimed weekly dole payments had been saved from the cuts but then revealed part-time workers will see their benefits targeted, ultimately falling by a fifth. Employers did not get away unscathed as a special redundancy rebate has been drastically reduced from 60% to 15%.