The Labour Party is calling for investment in housing and health

Ireland last year recorded a budget surplus for only the second time since the economic crash.

The Taoiseach revealed the €100m surplus following this morning’s meeting of Cabinet ministers.

Leo Varadkar said the excess funds are the result of a €250m under-spend and a “very big increase” of between €1bn and €2bn in corporate tax income.

"In 2018 we recorded a budget surplus of just over €100m," he said.

"So we have achieved a budget surplus a year ahead of schedule and this is the first time we have recorded a budget surplus in a decade – with the exception of the year in which the AIB shares were sold and that was kind of a one-off effect."

Following the announcement, Labour Party finance spokesperson Joan Burton called on the Government to invest in essential public services, noting that the "continued failure to address social housing needs is difficult to understand."

"The Exchequer surplus of nearly €100 million is good news, but it stands in stark contrast to the ongoing crisis in housing and health," she said.

"This Government is at risk of squandering the recovery by its failure to invest in housing and health.

"This Government should not forget that this economic recovery is as a result of hard sacrifices made the public, and public sector workers, during the recession.

"Leprechaun economics continues to haunt Ireland as Minister Donohoe sits on his 'Rainy Day Fund' while there is clearly need to invest now, in the public sector."