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Policy Information

Government Finances

Last updated: 15 February 2019
Published: 5 December 2018
From: Department of Finance and Department of Public Expenditure and Reform


Careful management of what the government collects and spends is essential for effectively running the country.

This involves implementing the correct mix of policy to ensure that the country’s economic future is protected, while investing in areas such as education, health, childcare and housing.

The Budget

Government revenue and expenditure, for each year ahead, is announced in the Budget speech, every October.

The Budget sets out the main financial changes in certain areas, such as:

  • taxation
  • social welfare
  • housing
  • employment and business
  • education and skills
  • child and family support
  • travel and tourism
  • sport
  • health and the environment

While the approval of the annual Budget is an important step in terms of budgetary policy, the Medium-term Budgetary Framework MTBF provides an overview of the set of arrangements, procedures, rules and institutions that can go beyond the usual yearly budgetary cycle.

As part of the MTBF, the country is bound by EU rules in terms of the Budget. This must be signed off by the European Commission before coming into effect each January.

The Budget speech is one part of the Budgetary Cycle which takes place over the course of the year.​

Government Expenditure

Annual government expenditure, for the year ahead, is announced by the Minister in the Budget speech (the ‘fiscal statement’), every October.

The Budget speech announces “day to day” spending on public service wages, social welfare payments and grants to hospitals and voluntary bodies. It also announces capital investment projects that will take place over several years.

The Budget speech is one part of the Budgetary Cycle which takes place over the course of the year.​

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The revenue that the government collects from taxes is used to support social welfare payments and other allowances that are available to people living in Ireland.

The government is committed to broadening the tax base in order to reduce the tax workers pay, and to allow for investment in public services.​

The Databank shows Exchequer Tax Receipts on a monthly basis from January 1984.

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There is a strategic goal to ensure that Ireland's macroeconomy (the economy as a whole) is sustainable and supported by sound public finances.

Focusing on providing evidence-based, stable budgetary policies will enable the economy to cope with downturns in the external economic environment.

The Economic Division publishes a number of papers and presentations on issues that impact our economy.

Financing the State

There is a government objective to ensure that the State is sufficiently well-funded to meet its obligations.

This is done by supporting the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA), which commercially and prudently manages public assets and liabilities for the government.

This management of finances focuses on issues that involve:

The government also has an objective to support NTMA's duty to assign staff and provide business and support services and systems to the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) and the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI).