An independent commission has told the Dáil that electronic voting machines which cost €52 million can be used again, but only if millions of euros are spent on modifications and new software.

The Commission on Electronic Voting said it is satisfied with the security and accuracy of the machines, but that the separate software to count the votes is not suitable and should be replaced.

Its report, which was laid before the Dáil this afternoon, also calls for further testing and improved security measures.

Earlier, the Minister for Finance dismissed a Fine Gael and Labour motion calling for an early General Election as a cynical exercise.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio’s News At One, Brian Cowen said that the Opposition parties were trying to disguise their differences on policy.

The two parties are using their private members' time tonight and tomorrow to call for an immediate election, claiming the coalition has run out of steam and may attempt to buy the election in its closing months.

The Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, says they are being negative, and would have 'heart failure' if he actually agreed to call an early election.

The Dáil began its final week before the summer recess today, with pressure to pass a number of important pieces of legislation.

There are three sitting days left before the Dáil summer break, but the House will be sitting past midnight on two of them, as five pieces of legislation have to be finished before the holidays start.

Opposition parties have complained that one of those Bills, amending the Defence Acts, is to be passed in less than two and a half hours late tonight.

Deputies will this week also debate a motion on the sale of Aer Lingus, and discuss the latest national wage agreement.