The umbrella group for Catholic religious institutions, the Conference of Religious in Ireland, has said it does not believe the country's infrastructure and social provisions can be brought up to average European levels without an increase in taxes.

In its latest socio-economic review, CORI says that despite all its economic success, Ireland still has growing levels of poverty, unequal income distribution and social exclusion.

The review says 900,000 people here are living at risk of poverty and claims the last seven budgets have widened the income gap between rich and poor.

CORI wants the Government to spend an extra €1.5 billion a year to address the problems. It also calls on the Government to raise the rate of corporation tax by 5% and introduce a new land tax.