Charlie McCreevy was born in Kildare in September 1949. He was educated locally and qualified as an accountant from University College Dublin. He was first elected to Dáil Éireann as a Fianna Fáil TD in 1977 and has been elected at every election since. In 1979 he supported Charles Haughey in the Fianna Fáil leadership contest. Haughey easily beat George Colley. He soon changed his opinion of the new leader and became an outspoken critic of him. This lead to McCreevy's expulsion from Fianna Fáil in 1982. In 1992 Albert Reynolds became Taoiseach and McCreevy was appointed Minister for Social Welfare. The following year he became Minister for Tourism and Trade. In 1997 Fianna Fáil returned to power and McCreevy became Minister for Finance. Throughout his political career he has advocated cutting income tax and government spending. In 1999 he announced the biggest give-away Budget in the history of the state. However, the government was forced to do a U-turn on some of the more controversial elements of it. McCreevy is now faced with the task of implementing the 2004 Budget which will contain cuts in public services and will be more in line with the current economic conditions of Ireland.