Cavan/Monaghan Fianna Fáil TD, Brendan Smith, has welcomed a range of measures across all sectors announced as part of Budget 2024 with additional supports to families and businesses to meet the many challenges arising as a result of the cost of living pressures.

Deputy Smith said, “This Budget with its progressive  measures further supports individuals, families and businesses at a time when the cost of living is high, putting huge pressure on many households. Budget 2024 also focuses on investing in the infrastructure which is needed for the future, including the largest home building programme for many decades.   This house-building programme is of critical importance for every community throughout the country.   

The cost of living package amounts to €2.7 billion.  We are all very aware of the effect of the energy crisis on families and businesses in Cavan and Monaghan and across the country.   Energy bills are a constant worry for most households and direct support by government will help ease those pressures.  This Budget aims to ease the pressure with 3 x €150 electricity credits for all households, to be paid between the end of this year and April of next year.

The further reduction of childcare fees by 25% shows Fianna Fáil’s commitment to greater investment in this sector where there are considerable pressures for parents, staff and providers.  Indeed it is a sector that will need further investment both in human resources and in the provision of additional childcare accommodation.

Fianna Fáil’s progressive policies in Education have benefitted Irish society very significantly and the decision by Minister Norma Foley to extend the provision of free school books to the first three years at second level is a very welcome measure.  Education has to be truly accessible for all.  The recent introduction of free school books at primary level and now to second level are significant moments for Irish education and will benefit families throughout the country.

This Budget provides for an increase in the threshold for payment of the higher rate of tax by €2000 to €42,000.  A full-time worker on the minimum wage will have an increase in their net take-home pay of approximately €2,300 per year.  The first reduction in USC rates in five years was announced by Minister Michael McGrath with that rate being cut from 4.5% to 4%.

I welcome the Finance Minister’s comments that assistance is being provided in this budget with an emphasis on those who need it most, taking in to account that household budgets are stretched for many individuals and families here in Cavan and Monaghan and throughout the country.

Fianna Fáil is conscious that the budget has to deal with the challenges of today but that we also plan for the future to ensure that the economic future is safer for all and importantly protecting public services” stated Brendan Smith.

Some of the key measures include:

Renters tax credit increases from €500 per year to €750 per year for 2024

Up to €1,250 Mortgage Interest Relief for eligible households

Extension of 9% reduced VAT rate for gas and electricity for another 12 months

National minimum wage to increase by €1.40 an hour

A social welfare Christmas bonus payment – a double payment in December, benefitting almost 1.5m people

A double child benefit payment for 1.2m children before the end of the year

A €300 Fuel Allowance lump sum for 370,000 people before the end of the year

A €200 Living Alone Allowance payment for 230,000 people.

A once-off €400 payment of the Carer’s Support Grant, Disability Allowance, Blind Pension, Invalidity Pension and Domiciliary Care Allowance. This will benefit 350,000 people

€250m in supports for school transport, State exam fees, Higher Education Student Contribution fees

A double Foster Carer allowance

20% fare reduction on public transport continued to end of 2024

€1 million per day invested in cycling and walking infrastructure
€1 billion for the development, protection and renewal of our road network

Extension of Child Benefit to 18 years old in full time education