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Irish trade unionists lay into seventh straight austerity budget

Trade unionists accuse ministers of 'making the wrong choices'

Irish trade unionists have hit out at the government's 2014 budget, accusing ministers of "making the wrong choices."

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) was just one of many voices lining up against the seventh straight austerity spending plan published on Tuesday.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan announced plans to slash €2.5 billion (£2.1bn) from Ireland's deficit and pave the way for the country to escape its international bailout, adding that the treasury had "stockpiled" €25bn (£21bn) to pay off its bills.

But think tank Social Justice Ireland said the numbers didn't add up.

It said the €2.5bn savings would be made through a combination of cuts and tax increases, but a footnote pointed to further savings of €600 million from "additional resources and savings elsewhere," giving a more than €3bn (£2.5bn) adjustment without adequate explanation.

But the independent think tank directed most of its ire at the foolhardy approach of austerity in general.

"Budget 2014 continues this government's austerity approach that has been shown to have no basis in theory, does not work in practice and is profoundly unethical in that it targets those who are vulnerable rather than those who are better able to meet the challenges of the present difficult situation."

It also said the government had failed to meet the terms of the troika - IMF, European Central Bank and European

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