Minister for Finance Brian Cowen has warned against the dangers of agreeing to wage increase to compensate for the higher rate of inflation.

His comments came a day after new figures indicated that the annual rate of inflation increased to 5% during March.

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions warned that unions would have to take account of the inflation rise during the forthcoming talks on the next national wage agreement.

However, Mr Cowen said pay rises that would themselves increase inflation was the last thing that was needed..