IRELAND is now entering “a new phase” in which the country will recover from the pandemic, restore public services and repair public finances, the Minister for Finance has said.
Unveiling the Budget for 2022, a package that amounts to €4.7 billion, Paschal Donohoe said the Government is “conscious” of the cost-of-living pressures on the public and businesses.
Addressing the Dáil, Mr Donohoe noted that the last time he announced the Budget in the chamber was two years ago before the Covid-19 pandemic.
“None of us could have foreseen that the worst global pandemic in a century awaited,” he said.
“We knew well about the risks associated with Brexit and had prepared for it, but we could not have predicted the devastation Covid-19 would leave in its wake.
“Both events have demonstrated our need to prepare for the worst while striving for the best.
“Many lives were lost and many livelihoods suddenly were ruined.
“The pandemic was an unprecedented experience for all of us and unfortunately life-changing for so many.
“But it also brought out the very best in Irish society and the bravery, resilience and fortitude of our frontline workers and those working in the community and social care sectors.” Mr Donohoe said that, in framing the budget, the government has been conscious of the cost-of-living pressures on the public and businesses.
Here are all the key points from the Budget 2022 announcement
- free GP care for children aged 6 and 7
- threshold for the Drug Payment Scheme lowered to €100
- €250 million to tackle hospital waiting lists
- free contraception for women aged 17-25
- €30 million to allow patients greater access to high-tech drugs
- expanding dental access to medical card patients
- National Childcare Scheme universal subsidy extended to all children aged up to 15
- €5 increase in weekly social welfare payments
- €5 increase in weekly payments for pensioners
- Living Alone Allowance to be increased by €3
- Fuel Allowance increased by €5
- Parent's Benefit increased by 2 weeks to 7 weeks from July 2022
- introduction of a Youth Travel Card for those aged 19-23
- 11,820 new social homes will be delivered through build, acquisition and leasing programmes. 9,000 of these will be new build homes
- €18 million for the delivery of Traveller accommodation
- 11,000 grants to adapt the homes of older people and people with a disability
- 14,800 new households to have their housing needs met under the Housing Assistance Payment and Rental Accommodation Scheme, in addition to supporting almost
- 82,000 existing tenancies under these schemes
- 1,165 additional SNA's, bringing the total number of SNA's to almost 19,200
- an additional 350 teachers to reduce school staffing schedules by 1 point for all primary schools
- 7,600 places in Further Education and Training courses in key skills areas of the economy
- 980 additional special education teachers working in special classes, special schools and mainstream settings to support children with special educational needs
- off-the-job training places for 7,000 craft apprentices impacted by COVID-19
- a €200 increase in the maintenance grant payment in the Student Support Scheme
- recruitment of up to 800 new trainee Gardaí and 400 Garda staff