Fianna Fáil's finance Spokesman Michael McGrath said his party is responsible for securing a €300m affordable housing package over the next three years in today's budget, including €200m of new money.

He said under the Government's watch, home ownership has become a distant dream for more people, and today's announcement of an affordable housing package was a breakthrough.

He said his party also welcomed additional funding allocated to homelessness and the increased allocation for the construction of social housing.

However, he told the Dáil that it was time for 'delivery' on the housing issue.

On Health, Mr McGrath said we need to know if what is announced today is an "honest health budget" and described the negotiations on health as "chaotic".

He told the Dáil that Fianna Fáil would be abstaining on a vote increasing the VAT rate for the hospitality sector; however he acknowledged that the decision was "a difficult call for the Government".

He warned of the over reliance on Corporation Tax, which he said was a "key risk facing the economy".

"If we cannot predict corporation tax receipts with any degree of certainty, then there is a real exposure", he said.

Deputy McGrath said Brexit is "the dark cloud that is hanging over this Budget" and a whole lot more could unravel on the back of a bad Brexit.

On climate change, Mr McGrath said the focus may be on the Government's decision not to increase carbon tax or excise on diesel, however, he said "we need to see a greater focus on positive initiatives on the climate change agenda."

Sinn Féin's Finance Spokesperson hit out at the Government and Fianna Fáil for claiming Budget 2019 is a housing budget. 

Speaking in the Dáil, Pearse Doherty pointed to the Minister's announcement that €80 million capital investment will be put into the Department of Housing.

He said it was "paltry" and far from a housing budget.

Deputy Doherty said it was a betrayal of the people who are in emergency accommodation, those who cannot afford the rents and the adults who have to live at home because they cannot afford a house.

The Sinn Féin Deputy said that out of the ashes of the Banking Crisis "came a bargain foisted on the Irish people", in which a scandal was invented that the Irish people were to blame for the "greed and negligence of the privileged - the untouchable few".

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Labour's Finance Spokesperson Joan Burton said this was an election budget.

She told the Dáil, "budget prudence goes out the window when there is an election in the air".

"If it looks like an election budget, if it sings like an election budget, if Leo's choir cheers it like an election budget well then it is an election budget."  

She compared Minister Paschal Donohoe to former Fianna Fáil Minister Charlie McCreevy saying "it was as though we were back in the good old days that we thought were banished forever."

Social Democrats co-leader Róisín Shortall accused the Government of cherry-picking crucial Sláintecare health reforms in Budget 2019.

"It is incredibly disappointing that the Budget has fallen very far short of the funding needed to properly implement the vision set out in Sláintecare for a universal single tier health service where people are treated promptly on the basis of their medical needs," she said.

Deputy Shortall said a key test of the Government's commitment to Sláintecare was the creation of a transition fund of €500 million per year over six years for the construction of primary care centres, eHealth improvements, increased hospital bed capacity, community diagnostics and a significant increase in training places for primary care staff such as GPs, nurses, and therapists.

She said Sláintecare cannot happen without this investment but the budget failed to deliver sufficient funding.

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Budget 2019 a 'non-event' - SPBP 

Solidarity/People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett has described the Budget as a "non-event."

He said the country is faced with the most serious pressing social issues facing people and "most disappointingly of all", the Budget fails on housing.

Mr Boyd Barrett said Government policies were stealing the childhoods of 4,000 homeless children.

He said the "miserable drop in the ocean" affordable housing scheme starting the year after next, would not be affordable where the housing crisis is most acute because a 40% discount on the market rate, means they will not be affordable for those on lower or middle income earnings.

He pointed out that last week Fianna Fáil supported his private members motion which called for an additional €1 billion investment in the direct construction of public and affordable housing on affordable land.

However, he said there is less than a quarter of that figure assigned in Budget 2019, which he said  Fianna Fáil will allow pass.

Independent TD Dr Michael Harty, who generally supports the Government in Dáil votes, has said that he will not be supporting the Budget legislation.

In a statement, Dr Harty said he was not happy with health measures contained in the Budget, citing a lack of urgency around the implementation of Sláintecare and an inadequate response to bed capacity issues.

The Green Party has welcomed the increases in funding to health outlined in today's budget.

However, the party expressed concern that the €25 increase in income threshold for doctor visit cards was not sustainable given the manpower crisis in General Practice.  

Green Party Health Spokesperson, Dr Séamus McMenamin said: "Over 70% of GP practices are now closed to new patients; it is now imperative that the Government negotiate a new GP contract to ensure that all the people who now qualify can avail of their entitlements."

'No big giveaways' - Independents

Independents4Change TD Mick Wallace said he did not believe this was an election budget.

 "I hear some people say this is an election budget - I actually don't think so, after listening to Fianna Fáil kissing Paschal's feet I'll be very surprised if this marriage made in heaven doesn't continue for another while."

Tommy Broughan said it was a budget for the Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil elites and their supporters in the property industry.

Joan Collins said this was an election budget with "no big giveaways just something for everyone in the audience". 

She said it would make little or no influence to those struggling to keep a roof over their heads, or those who were ill or reliant on food supports. 

Galway West TD Catherine Connolly said Ireland will face further fines for failing to deal with climate change, and there was no evidence this was going to happen based on today's budget.

Donegal TD Thomas Pringle said the vision in this budget was "of the right wing". 

He said Budget 2019 seeks to prioritise landlords over tenants, developers over social housing, the wealthy over low-income earners, multinationals over public services, private sector interests over individuals, as it always has and will continue to do so, so long as they are in power" he said.

Clare Daly said there were "crumbs for everyone in the audience" and that it wasn't a budget that would "make a blind bit of difference to anybody".

"It fails to alter the strategic direction of the Irish economy, the trajectory accelerated by the bailout."

She said the Minister was bragging about putting more money into homelessness and HAP - "if your policies were working you'd be putting less money into those areas not more."

Rural Independent TD Michael Healy Rae has expressed concern that money allocated to Health in Budget 2019 it will lead to more bureaucracy and red tape with little impact on the ground for those working in the service.

Deputy Mattie McGrath said the Minister for Finance would have people believe that a tax increase is like a golden goose that will help solve chronic problems in housing, schools and health.

Additional reporting: Ailbhe Conneely