Coalition gets going at last to deliver mother of all budgets

There is a running joke in government circles that tends to get repeated around Budget time: Leo Varadkar is demanding a cut to excise duty on wine. The Tánaiste is still smarting over the decision to add €1 to the cost of a bottle of wine in one of the last austerity-era budgets seven years ago.

One could be forgiven for thinking it was true when the joke/rumour was circulating last weekend, given the enormous amounts of extra spending the Government was planning and a general feeling that something should be done to lift the national mood.

But in the end, alcohol was untouched in what was an unprecedented Budget package of an extra €18bn that was all forgotten about in record time. Not even the Opposition could muster the strength to moan at the Taoiseach about it during Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil the following day.

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