The Taoiseach Brian Cowen said he believes the economy "has now reached a turning point" and that the challenge is "to move, with confidence and ambition, into a new phase of recovery and renewal."
In a speech to a regional conference of Fianna Fail, Mr Cowen said the country’s banks had to play their part in assisting national recovery.
“Our position is simple -- if the banks are not working for small business, then it is our responsibility as a government to make sure that they do,” Cowen said.
“The Irish people stood up and backed the banks of Ireland in their hour of greatest need. Now it is time for the banks to stand with the Irish people, to do their job responsibly, and to provide credit to viable Irish businesses that are the engine of job creation.”