DUBLIN – Ireland has crafted its second consecutive expansionary budget, with an expected 1.5 billion euros ($1.7 billion) in tax cuts and spending hikes, as the country accelerates its recovery from an international bailout and banking crisis.
The 2016 budget being unveiled Tuesday will be the last before Prime Minister Enda Kenny calls an election expected in March 2016. Kenny hopes to campaign on a platform of sound economic stewardship following Ireland's descent to the brink of bankruptcy under the previous government.
Ireland required a package of rescue loans in 2010 when the cost of saving Irish banks crippled public finances. But since exiting bailout support in late 2013, Ireland has regained its status as the fastest-growing economy in the 28-nation European Union with 2015 growth projected to top 4 percent.