Motor industry figures have expressed their disappointment over Budget 2014.

Alan Nolan, Director General of the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI), said: "The Minister's [for Finance, Michael Noonan] decision to ignore the motor industry's swappage proposal will result in the further export of Irish jobs and tax revenues to the UK.

"The industry is extremely disappointed that a swappage scheme wasn't announced in the Budget, a scheme which would have given motorists a VRT discount off the price of a new car.

"We have to see this as a huge opportunity missed by the Government. We put forward a detailed, well-costed plan that would have provided more than 2,000 extra jobs, particularly focused on young people and it would have netted the Government an extra €126m.

"This industry was also committed to making a significant contribution to drive swappage and to ensure the creation of these additional jobs, which won't happen now. Recovery in the motor industry has been put back by at least another year."

Paul Linders, SIMI President, said: "It is hugely disappointing that the State has ignored the difficulties of our sector, which is probably the largest tax generator in the State, and it is likely that this will lead to further significant job losses in our industry, instead of the employment growth that could have been delivered.

"Fifty-thousand used cars will be imported this year because many people can't step up from their old car to a new one. This has resulted in Irish consumers contributing over €150m in VAT to the UK Exchequer and that number of used car sales has supported over 4,000 jobs in the UK.

"In the current climate, I really cannot understand why the Government has not considered it important to retain those jobs and VAT payments in Ireland."

Ford Ireland boss Eddie Murphy said: "The Budget was really a non-event for motorists.

"OK, [there were] no increases in motoring taxes which have already been ratcheted up to unsustainable levels in the last number of budgets.

"But the lack of a swappage measure that had been suggested by the SIMI is a real lost opportunity, given the solid business case of the idea.

"Swappage is a win-win for the country and for the motor industry and it would have helped to secure the jobs of the 36,800 employees working in this sector and could even have lead to a significant increase in that number.

"It is a fact of life in Ireland that the vast majority of people, whether employed or not, cannot live without a car, and that situation is not going to change any time soon."