Ministers hint at tough Budget cuts

Government ministers have indicated that this year’s Budget will be one of the toughest in the State's history.

The Cabinet met for more than six hours yesterday to decide where money can be saved.

All Government departments will be hit by cutbacks as the country is officially deemed to be in recession.

Exchequer figures released on Thursday added to the gloom - they showed a deficit of €9.4bn, with that number expected to grow further before the end of the year.

Speaking after the Government discussions yesterday, Green Party leader John Gormley said cuts will be made across the board.

“I find myself in the same position as other colleagues. We’ve been told that reductions are necessary across all departments and we accept that responsibility,” he said.

“We have to act in the best interests of the county – that’s what good Government is all about.”

Meanwhile, the Irish Primary Principals' Network has appealed to the Government not to cut back on education spending for 2009.

The IPPN has warned that primary schools are not receiving enough funding to pay their day to day running costs.

The organisation said it wants to be able to appoint more teachers in order to reduce class sizes and that the current system is too bureaucratic.

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