Budget: Mixed NW reaction; word awaited on N4

Modest income tax cuts and marked increases in spending on health and housing.

That’s one of the main themes to emerge from Budget 2018 delivered yesterday afternoon by Finance Minister Paschal Donohue.

In the north west, the reaction was mixed.

Meanwhile, word is awaited on a much-expected specific allocation under the capital programme for the new N4 Collooney to Castlebaldwin road.

A statement from Sligo/Leitrim TD Tony McLoughlin last night said the road upgrade will ‘continue to be funded’ with an overall tender expected to be ready by the end of 2018.

For the tourism and hospitality industry in the north west, there was the relief that the VAT rate of 9% on tourism and services will not change.

That was a particular concern, particularly in Donegal and other border areas because of the proximity to the Sterling area and uncertainty over Brexit.

Farmers have had a mixed reaction to the budget but Michael Chance, Donegal IFA chairman, was particularly happy with the partial restoration of the Area of Natural Constraints, or ANC, payments.

Seamus Boland, of Irish Rural Link, was happy that the price of diesel was not increased but he felt the amount set aside for the setting up of new rural ministry is inadequate and is not taking rural Ireland. seriously.

This was his overall reaction to the budget.

And Justin Moran from Age Action says the rise in the Old Age Pension was a major priority for older people;