Cabinet ministers will meet for an all-day session today as they step up attempts to find multi-billion euro spending cuts.
They will convene this morning to try and formulate where the axe will fall in December’s Budget, with health, welfare and education taking centre stage.
Before a meeting in Farmleigh yesterday, several ministers warned the country faced difficult decisions, with every aspect of government spending being examined.
Agriculture Minister Brendan Smith said: “Very tough decisions have to be made.
“That has been made clear by all members of Government over a considerable length of time and we’re examining all areas of expenditure for each government department and that work is in progress.”
Speculation has been focused on the scale of the savings needed amid suggestions it could be as much as double the initial €3bn estimate.
Fine Gael said the Department of Finance wants a €7bn adjustment but the Government said no decision had been made.
Tourism, Sport and Culture Minister Mary Hanafin said they would be working hard to ensure a fair Budget.
“It’s just really to reassure people that we’re giving it our all in their interests,” Ms Hanafin said.
Justice Minister Dermot Ahern said everything was on the table.
The four-year budgetary road map, due to be published in mid-November, is also being discussed by ministers.
It has been speculated a property tax, water charges and bringing more people into the tax net are all being examined.
A debate on the economy is to be held in the Dáil this week.
Children’s Minister Barry Andrews warned at the weekend that the public should expect painful decisions, highlighting welfare and education among the areas being looked at.