Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has told the Dáil that the scale of the adjustment in next year's Budget may be higher than the previously anticipated figure of €3.6bn.

Mr Noonan said the figure of €3.6bn was mentioned in the agreement with the International Monetary Fund and European Union, but there was also a requirement to get the deficit to 8.6% of Gross National Product.

This, he said, might require an adjustment in the range of €3.6-€4bn.

However, Mr Noonan said whatever the figure was it was going to be a 'very tough' Budget.

The minister also told the Dáil that the international agencies providing Ireland's bailout loans could profit by as much as €9bn over the lifetime of the facility.

Mr Noonan said the money was not charity or a grant in aid but was instead a facility offered, at a very high interest rate, to the country to keep it going.

He told TDs the margin was excessive and that he and his officials make that point to the agencies involved at every possible opportunity.