The Irish Congress of Trade Unions has described Budget 2014 as ‘not being up to the challenge of kickstarting recovery and getting people back to work.’ According to Congress Assistant General Secretary Sally Anne Kinahan: “No matter what way you look at it, the Budget continues the same failed policies of the last six years and takes another €2.5 billion out of an economy that can barely afford it.

“It implements cuts and is not up to the challenge facing the country. “We have now taken over €30 billion out of the economy following a policy straitjacket that has cost us jobs and damaged the lives of working families.

“Overall, this budget could cost us up to 30,000 jobs.

“That means more job losses, more emigration and a flatlining economy. “While there were some initiatives, they are simply not up to the challenge in terms of job creation, protecting peoples’ living standards and stimulating domestic demand. “It that respect, it represents a major lost opportunity.

“Government had choices in this budget and Congress showed how they could have reached the deficit targets and done far less harm to the economy, while also pursuing a major investment programme” Ms Kinahan said.