A €1.9 billion deficit in the Social Insurance Fund must be addressed in the Budget, leading to increased speculation PRSI might be extended to include unearned income such as rent, dividends and shares, according to The Sunday Business Post. The Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton told the Dáil she wanted “as far as possible to ensure protection of the primary social welfare rates” but the EU/IMF troika was “asking very hard questions about the extent to which we can preserve such benefits that are considerably in excess of what is provided to citizens of the countries that are funding our state.” The Commission on Taxation recommended in 2009 that the PRSI base be widened.

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