Quinn plays down easing of austerity in next budget

Members of the cabinet are playing down speculation of a major easing of austerity in October's budget, following reports signalling a major concession on tax for middle-income earners.

The Tánaiste has led the response, saying that it is "purely speculative".

Education Minister Ruairi Quinn, meanwhile, has added: "We are dealing with the recovery of this country. It's taking time, we're going to travel the journey but we are nearly there. There are difficult decisions that need to be made as a collective group of ministers.

"When we agree on these decisions, Michael Noonan and Brendan Howlin will announce them."

Earlier, Eamon Gilmore said: ""This is April. The Budget is (in) October.

"I think any discussion of the Budget at this stage is purely speculative."

By Alan Smith

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