Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Frances Fitzgerald has said the Government wants to find a negotiated agreement with public service unions on pay and conditions.

Speaking on the Saturday With Clare Byrne show on RTÉ Radio 1, she said the Government wants to avoid confrontation.

Her comments come as Labour Relations Commission Chief Executive Kieran Mulvey engages in negotiations to explore potential areas for progress on the Croke Park II proposals.

He is due to brief Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin on Monday.

The General Secretary of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation Liam Doran said a tweaking of the proposals is not going to produce agreement following the decision by unions to reject the agreement.

Mr Doran said the LRC was making a sustained and determined effort to see what progress or alternative measures could be brought forward - not necessarily across the board but sector by sector.

He said unions were trying to have a sense of realism about what the Government says has to be done.

However, Mr Doran added they were as adamant as ever about protecting existing pay rates and premium rates for people who have had them for as long as they have been working in the public service.