The Government has announced plans to reduce the number of TDs in the next Dáil and hold all by-elections within six months.

Minister for the Environment and Local Government Phil Hogan announced that a new Constituency Commission will reduce the number of TDs.

The Government has not yet decided how many TDs there will be, but Minister Hogan said it would still be within the limits set by the Constitution.

Under existing law, a Constituency Commission is set up after each Census to decide the boundaries of each constituency and the number of TDs to be elected.

The Government also plans to reduce the amount spent by candidates in the Presidential Election from €1.3m to €750,000.

This measure will be in place before the next Presidential election in October.

Mr Hogan said: 'Irish politics needs to start delivering for the Irish people and this Government is determined to make real, tangible reforms which will make the political system leaner and more efficient for its citizens.

'The farcical situation where political parties are forced to take High Court challenges to ensure by-elections are held should never be repeated.

'To this end the Government will introduce legislation which will guarantee all by-elections are held within six months of a vacancy arising.

'This will ensure that all citizens are fully represented in the Dáil and prevent cynical political tactics which we saw last year.'

The announcement follows other reforms introduced by the Government, including the removal of the automatic entitlement of Ministerial cars and drivers and the reduction in pay for the Taoiseach and Ministers.