Morning top 5: Donohoe set for first budget speech; 10 dead in California wildfires; Catalan parliament to meet amid uncertainty

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Budget day has arrived with Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe revealing all in a speech at lunchtime.

Cabinet is meeting this morning to rubber stamp what marks the government’s first budget since Leo Varadkar’s confirmation as Taoiseach.

Workers are expected to get an extra €5 a week through cuts to the USC and changes to income tax bands.

Social Welfare recipients are also likely to find themselves €5 better off.

Tax increases are likely to see a rise in the price of cigarettes and sugary drinks – with commercial property tax rates expected to increase

Increases to commercial property tax are on the cards – while the price of cigarettes and sugary drinks are also expected to rise.


The Taoiseach has said the budget will include a €60bn spending plan - and focus on investment in services and infrastructure.

There have been calls from opposition parties not to repeat the mistakes of the past with large tax cuts.

In an online video last night, Mr Varadkar said Budget 2018 will balance the books for the first time in ten years.

He said it will also allow for more spending on public services – with the appointment of more teachers, nurses and gardaí.


At least 10 people have died as wildfires sweep across Northern California.

A state of emergency has been declared in Napa, Sonoma and Yuba counties, north of San Francisco Bay.

Authorities say more than 15,000 homes and buildings have been destroyed by 14 major fires which have burned through more than 49,000 acres.

Fire-fighters are concentrating on saving people rather than battling the blazes - which are still out of control.


The Catalan parliament is due to meet later amid speculation about whether the region might declare independence from Spain.

The Catalan President Carles Puigdemont is due to address the assembly, after a referendum in which 90% per cent voted to break away.

The referendum was marred by violence with approximately 900 people injured as police attempted to prevent voters from casting their ballots.

Catalonia's government said that of the 2.2 million people who were able to vote - two million voted for independence.

Meanwhile, over €300,000 people joined an anti independence protest in Barcelona on Sunday.


The Republic of Ireland will be in next Tuesday's draw for the World Cup playoffs following a win in Cardiff last night.

James McClean found the net for Martin O'Neill's side just before the hour mark and secured a 1-0 victory away to Wales.

The play-offs will take place over two nights between 9th-11th and 12th-14th November.