Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin has said the Government is still examining whether to use private debt collectors to recover fines, social welfare fraud and unpaid hospital bills.

A review is under way to examine how much it costs the public service to try to recover unpaid debts and whether it would be more efficient to hire private debt collectors.

The review will also look at whether it would be cheaper and more efficient to centralise all debt-collection staff in the public sector into one unit.

Millions of euro is owed to the Government in unpaid hospital bills, court fines and social welfare fraud and overpayments.