Leo Varadkar calls on Fianna Fáil to come up with costed list of Budget demands

Fianna Fáil says their deal with the Government gives them influence, but stresses they are not taking over

Leo Varadkar calls on Fianna Fáil to come up with costed list of Budget demands

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The Social Protection Minister has challenged Fianna Fáil to come up with a costed list of demands for the Budget.

Leo Varadkar says it is still not clear exactly what Fianna Fáil wants to see in the Budget, which is now just eight days away.

It comes after Sinn Féin published its own list of welfare proposals, including the return of the bereavement grant.

Minister Varadkar had a slip of the tongue when he tried to explain that no decisions had yet been made:

Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil has denied that they are dictating this year's Budget.

Their communications spokesman Timmy Dooley is adamant they have not been telling the Department of Finance what to do.

There is currently a 'confidence and supply' arrangement in place between Fianna Fáil and the Fine Gael led minority Government, which means they have agreed to pass three Budgets together.

Deputy Dooley admits the deal gives them influence, but says they are not taking over.

Speaking on High Noon, he explained: "The top line of that agreement was the necessity to invest more significantly in public services, and target any reductions in taxation towards the low and middle income earners. Now that's a significant shift in Government policy.

"In our arrangement [...] we succeeded in getting an agreement that would be more equitable, recognising the significant cuts to public services over the difficult years that we've come through," he added.