The Minister for Natural Resources has said it is a myth that increasing taxes on oil and gas drilling companies could raise enough revenue to fix Ireland's economic problems.

Pat Rabbitte told the Dáil this evening that it is not the case that Ireland has vast resources of oil and gas off its shores.

Mr Rabbitte said it is inaccurate to say that increasing taxes on exploration companies could act as a panacea to the economic crisis.

The Minister was speaking during a Sinn Féin Private Members' Motion urging the Government to increase tax on such companies.

Sinn Féin wants the Government to set up a new State company to take a majority share in all oil and gas finds.

During tonight's debate, Sinn Fein TDs criticised past Governments for issuing the licences to oil and gas companies.

A vote on the matter is due tomorrow night.