Minister of State for Public Service Reform Brian Hayes has restated his view that some well-off pensioners could possibly pay more.

Mr Hayes said they were a minority of older people, but he said the State could not continue burdening younger generations.

He said those in their 30s, 40s and 50s, of working age, had been disproportionately affected by the economic collapse.

He said many had lost their jobs and had their income decimated along with tackling negative equity.

Mr Hayes would not comment on how exactly some pensioners might pay more and he said any budgetary decision in this area lay with Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton.

However, he called for a debate over all universal payments.

Minister Burton told RTÉ’s The Week in Politics that it is unclear why Mr Hayes made the comments this weekend.

Ms Burton said that these are his personal views and he has not briefed her on them.

Mr Hayes has a lot of work to do in the Department of Finance in the area of small business, she said.

Minister Burton said older people are an important resource and the Government would be aware of that when forming the Budget.

She said that no decision has been made on any element of the Budget yet, but she said that when it is completed she will expect a contribution from all richer people in society.