Sinn Féin has told the Government not to use the Budget to give people “measly tax cuts” – but spend more money on improving housing, health and other services.

At the same time Labour leader, Brendan Howlin, has warned that suggested salary increases for a new Garda Commissioner – from the current €184,000 to €300,000 – risked starting “a chain reaction” all across the senior public service ranks.

The party’s deputy leader, Mary Lou McDonald, told the Dáil that any tax cuts in the Budget in 20 day’s time, on October 10, would be too small to help anyone struggling to make ends meet.

She mounted a blistering attack on Fine Gael, leading the minority Coalition, and Fianna Fáil, who are underpinning the Government continuing in office.

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The Dublin Central TD said there was a false row in progress over how best to give tax cuts.

“It’s the same old Fine Gael – backed by the same old Fianna Fáil,” she said.  Ms McDonald added that taxpayers were also suffering from poor services and would benefit from putting any extra spare cash into them.

Replying for the Government, Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald said the Government would use the forthcoming Budget to allow continued investment in the economic recovery.

“We want to be fair to the people who are out there. We want to be fair to the people who are paying taxes and we want to be fair to the vulnerable,” Ms Fitzgerald said.

“It isn’t about one or the other. It’s about promoting the economy,” she added.

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Ms Fitzgerald also replied to the Labour leader about the salary level for any new Commissioner to replace, Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan who abruptly retired on September 10.

The Tánaiste said no decision had been taken on the issue and she accepted the danger of creating precedents on senior public servants’ pay. But she added that there was “some leeway” to increase the current Commissioner salary level to attract the best possible candidate.