By Fiachra O Cionnaith
Labour TD Joan Burton has accused Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe of "travelling down the same path" as Charlie McCreevy's boom-time budgets in his financial plan for next year.
The opposition TD made the controversial claim in the Dáil this afternoon, saying the money given out may sound like Shakespeare's classic As You Like It to Mr Donohoe, but is in fact a case of Much Ado About Nothing.
Ms Burton said while there are some positives to take from the budget, the reality is Mr Donohoe "has raised €400m from a 4% increase in non-residential stamp duty to pay for tax cuts and spending increases" and asked:
"Have we learned nothing from the past?"
She warned a budget "framed on transactions in the volatile Irish property market" is "laying the foundations of future crisis", and that the fear is "history repeats itself".
Ms Burton also criticised the fact families with children who are older than toddlers are in fact "the one's who have done worst" from the budget announcements and questioned if this is a deliberate ploy.
The criticism from Labour was repeated by Alan Kelly, who said the budget is "the cup of coffee budget" because it is all anyone will have left from it when other tax changes are taken into account.
Mr Kelly claimed the policies being imposed by Government are "regressive" and do not help people most in need or those commuting for work, despite what the coalition is suggesting.
He added that the Government "is telling lies" by describing the welfare increases as €5 rises when in fact they are €3.85c as the new rates will only take effect from the last week of March, not the first week of January.