An Oireachtas budgetary service to cost proposals from opposition parties and TDs won't be in place before the General Election, Finance Minister Michael Noonan has revealed.
The minister said he was open to the proposal of a costing service that would be independent of government and the Department of Finance.
But he said it was unlikely that it would be in place before the election. "While I cannot commit to definitive timeframes given the exploratory nature of this issue, I would think that is unlikely that such an office would be established in advance of the next general election," Mr Noonan said, in a response to a parliamentary question from Fianna Fáil.
At present, the Department of Finance will cost individual items contained in an alternative Budget presented by an opposition party, but it doesn't calculate the overall impact of the package.
Mr Noonan said officials from the Department of Finance were looking at the issue along with officials from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.
"Given the nature and purpose of the body, I would envisage a need for an extensive consultation process."