The Dáil has passed all stages of the Bill that cuts the minimum wage by €1 to €7.65.

The Government won the vote this afternoon by 79 votes to 74.

The Financial Emergency Measures Bill will also reduce Government salaries and cut the pensions of retired public servants.

The Taoiseach's salary will be cut by €14,000 a year, while ministers will lose €10,000.

The top earners in the public service will have their pensions reduced by 12% on sums over €60,000.

Fianna Fáil TD for Tipperary South Mattie McGrath, who lost the party whip, voted against the legislation.

During the debate, Labour's Joe Costello described the Bill as another batch of cuts following the 'slash and burn' of the Social Welfare Bill yesterday.

Mr Costello said the curtailment of pay of the Taoiseach and Ministers would 'hardly put them on the breadline'.

He derided the cut in the minimum wage, saying it would not add a cent to the Exchequer.

Fine Gael's Fergus O'Dowd called for a clampdown on bonuses in the public sector, which was brought to public attention by the Comptroller and Auditor General.

He said a lack of ministerial accountability was responsible for this situation.

Amid interruptions from the Labour benches, Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan said Ireland had the second highest minimum wage in Europe, which was 'not sustainable at a time of crisis'.

He said Ireland had to become a competitive economy and face the facts.

Labour's Joan Burton rejected the suggestion by the minister that the proposed cut in the minimum wage would not affect existing workers.

She said most low-paid workers were women, who did part-time work as required by employers.

They did not have any employment contract to rely on, if their employer imposed the new minimum wage.

Sinn Féin's Martin Ferris said TDs were all earning over €90,000 a year and not one cent was being taken off them, yet the Government was cutting the minimum wage by about €40 a week.

He said the working poor depended on the minimum wage to feed their children and to put food on their table.

Labour's Roisin Shortall said the Government was giving the message to employers that the lowest paid in our society are 'fair game'.

Elsewhere, Socialist Party MEP Joe Higgins has called for a nationwide 24-hour workers' strike to show the Government that the Budget cuts will not be tolerated.

Mr Higgins also urged people to protest against the cuts and he described the country as a 'vassal state of the IMF'.