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paschal donohoe

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Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe has delivered his Budget speech in the Dáil, setting out the government's budgetary measures for the year ahead.

Some €1.2 billion in new spending and tax cuts were announced this afternoon, in a plan that Minister Donohoe hopes will build on the progress made over the past few years.

Total expenditure in 2018 will amount to just over €60.9 billion – or €12,700 for every person in the country.

Here's Budget 2018 at a glance. 

  • €1.83 billion has been made available for housing, with 3,800 new social houses expected to be built by local authorities and approved housing bodies.

  • The esthablisment of a 'rainy day' fund with €1.5 bn to be transferred from the Ireland Strategic Investment fund.

  •  €5 per week increase in all weekly social welfare payments, including disability allowance, carer’s allowance, Jobseekers’ Allowance and State pension – effective from March 2018. 

  • Mortgage relief lowered to 75% for 2018, 50% 2019 and 25% in 2020.

  • Excise duty on a packet of 20 cigarettes to rise by 50 cents.

  • Health expenditure to increase by €685m, bringing next year's total to just under €15.3bn.

  • An additional 1,800 staff in frontline services across acute, mental health, disability, primary and community care sectors.

  • €13 million increase in the Overseas Development Aid budget.

  • 1,300 additional teaching post in schools for 2018 – reducing the student teacher ratio to 26:1.

  • VAT on sunbeds to increase to 23 per cent "in recognition of a clear link between sun beds and skin cancer"

  • A 30c per litre sugar tax on drinks with over 8g of sugar per 100ml, and a 20c per litre tax on drinks containing 5g to 8g of sugar per 100ml.

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Ah, the morning commute. 

We will never get used to being packed onto the train like sardines and sweating by the time you get to your destination even though its -2 degrees outside.

And let's not forget the various questionable odours, ESPECIALLY if it happens to be raining. 

Well, we may not be able to solve all those problems but the Minister for Transport is putting in an expanded DART service for 2016 which might just make that commute slightly more bearable. 

Due to a serious increase in passenger numbers on all commuter routes, our good ol' Minster Paschal Donohoe has proposed DART services that will run every ten minutes during the week with a more reliable service put in place for the weekend. 

YES. 

And for those who look to avoid the commuter scrum, DART services will operate from earlier times on mid week mornings.

That's right, you will be able to get a train from 5:50am from Malahide, 6am from Howth and 5.35 from Bray! 

And Minister Donohue is delighted. 

“Proposed changes – which will see DART services running every 10 minutes and for longer hours – will be great news for customers as it should mean less congestion on carriages at peak times and enhanced reliability, both of which will be welcomed."

Every little helps! 

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