Opposition parties have responded to the budgetary decisions announced by the Government.

Fianna Fáil finance spokesman Michael McGrath said the Budget was the third in succession that has placed a disproportionate share of the burden on those who are least able to carry it.

He said the Government's response to the mortgage arrears crisis would make the situation worse and he criticised the abolition of the mortgage interest supplement for new applicants.

Sinn Féin finance spokesman Pearse Doherty said that on the 100th anniversary of the 1913 Lockout, in this Budget the Government was "pitting grandparent against grandchild" by reducing the telephone allowance and introducing free GP care for the under fives.

He welcomed the introduction of the €150m Bank Levy but said that it was for too short a time.

Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald attacked the Government’s actions and said that the Budget "to borrow a word from the Taoiseach, delivers another almighty wallop to the people".

Ms McDonald said the Government’s targeting of low and middle-income families had been relentless and that "it sits notably and side-by-side with the protection of the wealthy".

Fianna Fáil spokesperson on jobs Dara Calleary said the Budget was littered with hidden cuts that will have a serious impact on jobs.

"When you strip away the PR of this budget, there are number of sneaky cuts that that will hit job seekers and employers next year," he said.

"In a move that will only fuel the brain drain from this country, the Government has slashed the Job Seeker’s Allowance for under 25s.

"Many young people looking at this announcement today will wonder where the incentive is for them to stay here to look for work. This cut will force more graduates and young job seekers out of the country."

Furthermore, he said, the Government had declared a war on its people, adding that the Government is "expelling the country's youngest and brightest".

Independents' and Technical Group reactions

Seamus Healy of the Technical Group asked why Budget 2014 did not contain a wealth tax. He said the Budget tackles the young, the elderly "and even the dead".

Richard Boyd Barret told the Dáil that the Budget was depressingly predictable.

He said the Government had clearly "chosen as your targets" the young, the old, the sick and the chronically sick.

Luke Ming Flanagan was scathing in his assessment, saying he believed young people had been "shafted" and that Minister for Finance Michael Noonan wanted the unemployed out of the country.