The Minister for Justice, Michael McDowell, has hit out at media coverage of politics.

Speaking at a book launch in Dublin tonight, the PD leader said that he really strongly believed that truth is becoming a casualty in the reportage of politics.

Mr McDowell said that politicians were foolish in some respects in their dealings with the press.

He said that if they exposed their private lives to the media they would pay the price.

He added that politicians owe it to themselves to be mindful of their own dignity, and not to court cheap headlines.

Earlier, he denied that his party's plans to increase pensions by €100 a week if the PDs share power after the next General Election amounted to buying votes.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio's Morning Ireland, Mr McDowell said the PDs were giving pensioners a fair share of the increasing wealth of the Irish economy based on conservative growth estimates.

He said it was perfectly reasonable to fix a €300 a week pension.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio's News At One, Minister for Finance Mr Cowen said it is not outside the bounds of possibility to increase pensions to €300 over five years taking into account the Government's record.

He said since 2002 the Government has increased pensions by 7.3% annually.