Finance Minister Brian Lenihan today vowed to take difficult decisions in the Budget as he forecast a €6.5bn hole in the public finances by the end of 2008.
Figures for the first nine months of the year showed a tax take of €29bn, down 9% on the same time in 2007.
Mr Lenihan said the data was disappointing but added that the stalled property market and challenging international conditions were impacting hard.
“As a result of these trends, a shortfall of the order of €6.5bn on tax revenue is currently estimated,” he said.
He added: “Difficult decisions will be required to stabilise the public finances. In that context Budget 2009 will be framed to provide the stability required.
“Taking decisive action now is necessary to help ensure fiscal sustainability over the medium term.”