Spending on health has been increased by €685m, bringing total funding to almost €15.3bn for 2018, reflecting an almost 5% increase, the minister said.
The allocation includes an additional 1,800 staff aimed at a range of frontline services across the acute, mental health, disability, primary and community care sectors.
A reduction in prescription charges for all medical card holders under 70 from €2.50 per item to €2 per item, with a reduction in the monthly cap from €2 to €20, was also announced.
Graphics below from @IRLDeptFinance and @IRLDeptPER.
To make a "healthier Ireland", the minister announced that excise duty on a pack of 20 cigarettes will be increased by 50c. This will bring the price of cigarettes in the most popular price category to €12.
Also, a sugar tax is to be introduced on drinks at a rate of 30c per litre on drinks with more than eight grams of sugar per 100 millilitres and a reduced rate of 20c per litre on drinks with between five and eight grams of sugar per 100 millilitres.
In a bid to slash skin cancer rates in Ireland - among the highest in the world - VAT on sunbed services is to soar from 13.5% to 23%.
Donal Buggy, Head of Services and Advocacy at the Irish Cancer Society said: “The Irish Cancer Society is pleased that price continues to rise. The price hike will encourage people to stop smoking and ultimately save lives.”
“Increasing the price of cigarettes is the most effective way of stopping children from taking up smoking and in encouraging people to quit. This can be seen in significantly reduced rates of smoking in Ireland among children and adults in recent years. Child smoking is at an all-time low of 8%, while overall smoking prevalence is at 23%.”