Full extent of Irish cuts package revealed

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Ireland's Finance Minister has claimed the country's economy will grow this year despite the most draconian budget in the state's history.

Brian Lenihan told the Dail that the economy, as measured by gross domestic product, would increase by an average of 2.75 per cent by 2014.

He said: "Our actions to stabilise the public finances have made progress".

The 2011 budget aims to make 6 billion euros worth of spending savings.

After the budget overhaul, the average industrial worker's take home pay will be slashed by 1,392 euro a year.

Some 50,000 people earning the minimum wage will not have to pay tax, but workers on as little as 10,000 euro a year will be 200 euro less well off.

Civil servants' pay and state pensions have not been touched, and the Government declined to boost taxes for Ireland's wealthy elite.

Opponents of the ruling Fianna Fail party claimed that the budget comes from a puppet Government under the thumb of the International Monetary Fund and Europe.

Fine Gael finance spokesman Michael Noonan said: "The Government's policies have wrecked the economy, they have destroyed the confidence of the people, they have put 450,000 people out of work, they have forced over 100,000 of our adult children to emigrate, they have increased poverty and they have undermined any concept of social justice in our society," Mr Noonan said.

Sinn Fein finance spokesman Pearse Doherty said: "It is times like this when you have to think, what would the founders of this state think about what has gone on earlier today in this chamber.

"What would people who struggled into being, the people who gave their lives, the people who laboured to bring the Dail into being, to bring the dream of the (1916) proclamation into being ... I'm sure that they would be ashamed by what has gone on in this chamber today."

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