Taoiseach Enda Kenny said a new law aimed at collecting water charge arrears will target people who refuse to pay - and will not affect people who cannot pay.
Mr Kenny again defended the plan, being discussed by the Cabinet this evening, to deduct water charge arrears from wages and welfare by so-called attachment orders.
He rejected opposition claims that the Government is moving on this swiftly "pick-pocket law" to recoup unpaid water charges - while foot-dragging on any law to make banks help people in mortgage difficulties.
Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin said there had been 586 mortgage re-possession court orders since January and there were 8,000 such cases before the Circuit Court.
"Taoiseach, when are you going to remove the veto the banks have?" Mr Martin asked.
Mr Kenny said there will be a package to help people in mortgage difficulties published next week. He said the Government was concerned by the problem but the court proceedings more often led to discussions and new payment arrangements rather than re-possessions.
The Taoiseach rejected allegations by Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams that the Government was fast-tracking "pick-pocket" legislation to collect unpaid water charges - and ignoring the mortgage distress.
Mr Kenny said water charges were necessary to fund investment in water and sewerage services for the future.