Minister for European Affairs Lucinda Creighton has said that Budget 2013 is the "most painful point" of Ireland's financial adjustment.
Today TDs will begin debating the social welfare elements of the package, which have prompted an angry reaction both inside and outside Leinster House.
Another protest against plans for changes to the respite care grant is planned for outside the Dáil today.
But despite the reaction that greeted the Budget, Minister Creighton said there is always dissatisfaction when cutbacks are announced, and the measures have to be put in place.
"It's as balanced and as fair as I think it possibly can be, and we now have to implement it," she said.
"Ireland has a lot of strengths in its economy, we're moving in the right direction.
"This is the most difficult Budget that we're going to experience - next year will not be this difficult. The following year will be easier again.
"So this is really, I think, probably the most painful point of our four or five-year adjustment."