TANAISTE Eamon Gilmore has set himself against Fine Gael claims that our "brightest and best" are emigrating because tax is too high.
Mr Gilmore was responding to Transport Minister Leo Varadkar's claim in the Irish Independent that highly qualified, younger workers are going to Canada, the US and Australia because they are getting "a better lifestyle, higher pay and lower taxes".
Speaking in Dublin at the launch of the new Irish passport this morning, Mr Gilmore said: "Taxation isn't the issue in relation to emigration.
"The issue in relation to emigration, in my view, is much more about the availability of work here rather than the issue of taxation. "
Mr Varadkar said tax cuts must be put on the agenda once Ireland gets out of the bailout, since younger workers are being forced into the higher tax brackets as they move up the career ladder.
But Mr Gilmore said "we have draw a distinction between people who leave because they want to work elsewhere".
"The people I'm really concerned with are the people who leave the country for work purposes because they can't get work here and that's why our focus is the creation of jobs here so people, everybody, can have the opportunity of working here.
"There will always be people who want to work abroad. I know people myself who have gone on jobs because they have been promoted or something else."
"That's a natural part of the movement of people in employment these days. But as far as aspect of emigration that we have to deal with is to ensure that we provide the jobs here that those who want to work in Ireland will have job opportunities."
He also stuck to his position that the level of cuts and taxes in the Budget should be less than the planned €3.1bn, but would not say exactly how much.
And Mr Gilmore insisted the exact adjustment level will not be decided until closer to Budget day on October 15.