Ireland's coalition government detailed 2.2 billion euros (1.2 billion pounds) worth of spending cuts on Monday in what it hopes will be the toughest budget of its five-year term of office.
Following are highlights from Minister for Public Expenditure and Public Sector Reform Brendan Howlin's speech to parliament.
STATE OF COUNTRY'S ECONOMY
Twelve months on from the arrival of the troika we have seen some improvement. Our position has stabilised. Twelve months ago we were Europe's problem. Now problems in the European and global economy threaten our recovery.
Our country has suffered the greatest economic crisis in living memory ... We are now re-building our revenue base but we do not have the resources to fund all the services that we would like to provide.
As a country we have already endured four years of hardship. Yet we remain an innovative and creative people. Faced with a more benign European economy and with clear and determined leadership this nation will prosper again.
The provision for state pensions has increased from 3.7 billion euros in 2007 to a projected outturn this year of 4.7 billion euros. We will need to continue to increase this financial allocation year-on-year due to our demographic profile. In 2012 an additional allocation of 175 million euros will be required.
PUBLIC SECTOR CUTS
There will be some limited recruitment in to the Public Service in early 2012.
While we have had to make savings by abolishing student support for some new post-graduate students, we will make a contribution towards the fees of the post-graduate students from the lowest income backgrounds.
The measures in the education area which I am announcing today will save 132.3 million euros in 2012.
SOCIAL WELFARE CUTS
I can confirm today that the government has decided not to reduce any weekly rate of social welfare payments.
We will endeavour to make savings from a range of measures, which will save 475 million euros in the social protection area in 2012.
Over two years we will standardise the rates of payments of child benefit for all children. This will save 43 million euros next year.
We have decided to base the payment week for jobseekers' benefit on a five-day week rather than the existing six-day week basis. This will save 5.9 million euros next year.
Expenditure on the health budget will be 26 percent of current expenditure and the sector comprises around one-third of all public service employment.
Today I am announcing a total of 543 million euros in net savings in the Health area.
NEW SPENDING REVIEW
It is anticipated that the next CRE (comprehensive spending review) will be undertaken in 2013/14 to inform the next phase of fiscal planning
PUBLIC SECTOR CUTS
Today I am announcing that the public service pay bill will fall by 400 million euros ($537 million) in 2012. By the end of this year, the numbers employed in the Public Service will be below 300,000. Next year, the Government plans to reduce the size of Public Service by a further 6,000. ($1 = 0.7446 euros)
(Reporting by Carmel Crimmins and Conor Humphries; editing by Stephen Nisbet)