Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has today defended €3.5bn in austerity cuts and tax hikes announced in yesterday's Budget.
He said the latest measures, which saw the Government cut child benefit, triple prescription charges and rubber-stamp the controversial property tax, was necessary to move Ireland a step closer to recovery.
"We know it's tough, we know it's difficult, we know how it's impacting on people," Mr Gilmore said.
"We've done our best to ensure that it is fair. It does take us now where we can now see the finishing line on these type of measures having to be produced in the future."