Opposition finance spokespersons have sharply criticised the measures in Budget 2011.

Fine Gael's Michael Noonan said it was clear that the Government had not learned from past lessons.

He accused the Government of being socially blind and accused Finance Minister Brian Lenihan of not caring about the most vulnerable in Irish society.

Commending the Finance Minister for exempting the old age pension, Mr Noonan questioned why the Government has decided to cut the pensions of widows, the blind and those on invalidity pensions.

Michael Noonan said that the budget was one from a puppet Government doing what they were told to do by the IMF and the European Central Bank.

He said that Ireland's financial problems were difficult but manageable. He said that the problem became unsustainable when bank debt became national debt.

Ireland's current problems were as a direct result of the Government's banking policies, he said, which Fine Gael had pointed out to them.

Fine Gael's Finance Spokesperson also accused the minister of being very sparse in his budget detail, as a result, he said it was difficult to know what the full implications of the budget were.

He called on the Taoiseach to state clearly tomorrow in the Dáil what the policy decisions are, which underpin the expenditure cuts.

Labour Party Finance Spokesperson Joan Burton said the winners in this Budget were the bankers, both foreign and Irish, who were hoovering up our money.

She said responsibility was not being borne by reckless lenders or those who lent to them. They would continue to party on, she said, while it was Unislim for the taxpayer.

The losers in this budget would be families with three children, jobseekers, carers and those on disability pensions, Deputy Burton said.

She said there was nothing for the SME sector who had been promised credit flowing 'like milk and honey' after NAMA was established.

The budget would leave society more divided than ever, she added.

Sinn Féin's Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty said the Government was announcing the budget to prop-up the failed banking sector and said that it amounted to economic sabotage.

He criticised the fact that the salary of TDs had not been touched.

The Government had prolonged the cycle of recession, he said, and asked how the Government had 'the neck' to come in and introduce the budget after giving our sovereignty away.

He accused Fianna Fáil politicians of being out of touch and said that the Government had misled the Irish people.

He said that Fianna Fáil was using emigration was a safety valve and called on any young person planning on leaving Ireland to stay and save the country by voting in an alternative government.

He said spending cuts were not the answer and that Sinn Féin had a better way.

Deputy Doherty said that Sinn Féin would reverse the budgetary cuts announced today.

He said his party's alternative was no to the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and the bondholders.

Sinn Féin's Finance Spokesman Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said that it was a cruel budget that had brought greater social misery.

He said the Green Party and Fianna Fáil heaped more pain and suffering on those burdened the most, and he said people will feel the effects in their lives very soon.