The Cabinet is to reconvene at 7:30pm this evening to discuss plans to remove the threat of jail from people who refuse to pay water charges.
The proposals from the Departments of Justice and Environment will see annual penalties imposed on those who cannot or will not pay a number of bills such as the water charge or TV licence.
Speaking on his way into Government Buildings, Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin said that people have to pay their bills - but there should be allowances made for genuine cases.
"You don't look at your electricity bill or your grocery bill when you go to the checkout and say: 'Well I'm sorry I can't pay this bill now because I'm a bit squeezed - but I'm taking my goods anyway'," he said.
"But there provision within the legislation to ensure that genuine cases of hardship, that there is a threshold that is understood and excepted below which people will be exempt from any further payment."