Michael Noonan, Ireland's finance minister, delivered a budget on Tuesday which was notable for slight concessions on austerity, ahead of an expected election.
Ireland was brought to its knees in 2011 thanks to a near-collapse of its banking system. After being bailed out by its fellow euro zone countries, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank to the tune of 85 billion euros ($96 billion), it has had to introduce a tough series of taxes and austerity measures.
In his 2015 budget, Noonan, whose Fine Gael party has lost ground in recent polling, announced what it hopes are vote-winners including a cut to the unpopular Universal Social Charge (known to many as the "bailout tax"), and cuts to taxes for the self-employed and entrepreneurs.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny has previously said there would be an election in spring 2016, but there is now speculation in Ireland that this might be brought forward to November of this year as the fallout from inquiries into the banking crisis, and the purchase of some of the assets in its bad bank, continues.