Politics watch: Budget 2024 reaction, Israel-Hamas war

Politics Watch: Budget 2024 Reaction, Israel-Hamas War
Here, we look at the biggest political issues on the agenda for the coming week. Photo: PA Images
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James Cox

Here, we look at the biggest political issues on the agenda for the coming week.

The two biggest issues will undoubtedly be the continued reaction to Budget 2024, and the Israel-Hamas war.


Budget 2024 reaction

The Government unveiled a €14 billion budget package this week. Minister for Finance Michael McGrath said that "global uncertainty" was a main consideration of the Government when drafting Budget 2024.

The budget includes a €5.27 billion increase in public spending, along with €4.76 billion of non-core funding to respond to exceptional circumstances.

The budget includes a one-year tax relief on mortgage interest payments. The relief for those affected by soaring rates in the last 12 months will be capped at €1,250 per property.

Among the once-off cost-of-living supports are three electricity credits worth €450; a winter fuel allowance lump sum of €300; a €200 winter living alone allowance; a Christmas bonus for welfare recipients; and €250 million in one-off business supports.


There will be a €12 increase in the weekly social welfare rate for working age recipients and a €12 increase in weekly payments for pensioners.

In tax policy, the standard rate cut-off point for income tax has increased by €2,000, meaning people will start paying the highest tax rate at €42,000.

The rent tax credit has been increased to €750.

Despite all the measures, various sectors and sections of society have expressed their unhappiness at the budget. This includes publicans, small business owners, farmers, community workers, and teachers.


Opposition parties have wasted no time in criticising the budget.

Social Democrats leader Holly Cairns called it a "sticking plaster to cover up our eroding services".

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin have said the health provisions in Budget 2024 are a "disaster".

The party's deputy leader, Pearse Doherty, said there is a “chronic and deepening crisis” in the health service.


During Leaders' Questions on Thursday, he said Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly is "out of his depth".

“He [Mr Donnelly] announced it on three occasions, that promise has melted away like snow on the ditch,” Mr Doherty said. “It seems that the Minister was hung out to dry by a Government that has backed his incompetence every step of the way.

“It is very clear to everybody that Minister Donnelly is out of his depth. He has no real plan to transform our health services and he makes it up as he goes along.”

The attacks will not stop there, and will be a prominent feature of Dáil debate in the coming week.


Israel-Hamas war

The worsening Israel-Hamas war will be a core discussion of Dáil debate this week.

The Israeli government has told 1.1 million civilians to evacuate Gaza City amid an expected ground invasion.

While the Hamas attack on Israel has been widely condemned in the Dáil, People Before Profit has accused Government of not doing enough to condemn Israel's treatment of Palestinians.

However, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Tánaiste Micheál Martin have taken a strong stance in urging restraint from Israel, something which has been lacking among plenty of world leaders.

The war will undoubtedly be a key topic in Dáil discussion again in the coming week.

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