Minister for Children Barry Andrews has defended the social welfare cuts in the Budget.

On RTÉ's This Week, responding to comments that the cuts will push the number of children living in poverty to over 100,000, Mr Andrews said the Government had taken steps to protect the most vulnerable.

Mr Andrews said people at the bottom end in receipt of child benefit received an increase in the child dependent allowance last year and that the family income supplement was available to those on low incomes.

Barry Andrews said that the child benefit payments generally have gone back to 2005 levels but for those on the lowest incomes receiving the child dependent allowance, payments have gone back to 2008 levels.

However, on the issue of the €40m bonuses for AIB staff, Mr Andrews said the Government would do what it could, within the law to prevent the payments.

On the Wikileaks disclosures regarding the seeking of information for the Murphy Commission, Mr Andrews said the Government had received a huge amount of information from Rome.

Speaking on RTÉ radio, Mr Andrews said Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheal Martin had told the Papal Nuncio in November last year that it was unacceptable that the Vatican was not providing the information.

But he said the Vatican was now taking the matter seriously.