As a member of the European Union, Ireland is subject to the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP). As part of the SGP, the so-called ‘two-pack’ Regulations were introduced in 2013. This included Regulation (EU) No. 473/2013 on ‘common provisions for monitoring and assessing draft budgetary plans and ensuring the correction of excessive deficit of the Member States in the euro area’. In particular, Article 4 relates to a ‘common budgetary timeline’ and requires that “the draft budget for the forthcoming year for the central government and the main parameters of the draft budgets for all the other subsectors of the general government shall be made public annually not later than 15 October”.
As a European Regulation, the legislation became directly effective in Ireland from the date of it's adoption, on 21 May 2013. Thus, the legal requirement under both Irish and EU law that requires us to publish our budget by 15th October every year has it's basis in the same European Regulation. There are no legal grounds, however, to delay the announcement of the annual budget beyond the 15 October.
In terms of the specific enactment of the actual budgetary measures, Article 4 of the above mentioned Regulation further provides that the “budget for the central government shall be adopted or fixed upon and made public annually not later than 31 December”.
In line with the requirements of the Regulation, last month the Government agreed that Budget 2020 will take place on Tuesday 8 October 2019. This allows for the budgetary measures to be presented and debated in the Oireachtas, in advance of the formal transmission to the European Commission of the Draft Budgetary Plan, by 15 October 2019.