Minister for the Environment John Gormely has said the Government will be attempting to strike a balance in December's Budget.

Mr Gormley said the Government wants the economy to thrive and not flatline.

Speaking in Limerick, Mr Gormley said he was unwilling to speculate on how much the Budget cuts will amount to.

The minister said the Government would make adjustments aimed at getting the confidence of the international markets and the European Commission, while at the same time not plunging the economy into a deflationary cycle.

Mr Gormley also said he fully backed plans for the roll out of Metro North.

He described it as an essential project that would enhance the economy and create jobs.

The minister also responded to today's Irish Times report that Siemens has offered to lend the State the money required to install domestic water meters.

Mr Gormley said it was always helpful when the Government receives constructive ideas from private companies.

Siemens has said it is to approach the Government to discuss its willingness to fund the installation of water meters in domestic households across the country.

The company said it is seeking a meeting with the Minister for Finance about how private industry could support financing projects, including the water meter scheme and energy savings projects.