The Minister for Finance has tonight raised the possibility that water bills could be refunded for those who have already paid.
Michael Noonan told a meeting of Fine Gael TDs and senators that Exchequer returns for November would be €280m ahead of expectations.
The tax take for the first 10 months of the year was already €680m higher than planned.
It means the State would be able to afford refunds for the €144m paid in water charges last year.
Minister Noonan did not indicate whether he supported spending money for that purpose, but talked about the importance of resolving the water charges controversy before any new General Election.