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.
Expenditure and revenue are monitored against Budgetary targets on a monthly basis and are published in the Fiscal Monitor.
The Department of Finance produces a number of annual, quarterly and monthly Key Departmental Publications which are used regularly for research purposes, as does the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.
The allocations for government spending for the year ahead are announced by the Minister in the Budget every October.
This includes current or “day-to-day” spending allocations (on things like Public Service Pay and Pensions, social welfare payments and grants to voluntary bodies) as well as capital investment. 'Capital investment' is investment that includes infrastructural development projects which will be managed over several years, such as those in Project Ireland 2040.
The announcements in the Budget are simply one part of an overall budgetary cycle, which takes place throughout the year. A more detailed breakdown of the allocations in October’s Budget is then presented in the Revised Estimates Volume (REV) in December.
After the Budget allocations are made, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform works with the other government departments and offices to help ensure that their expenditure is managed in line with these allocations. Learn more about how expenditure is approved here.
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.
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.
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).
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:
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.