Minister for Housing and Planning Jan O'Sullivan has said October’s budget must seek to protect people's living standards.

The minister said this was necessary because the country had gone through a number of difficult years.

Announcing an extra €32 million for social housing, Ms O’Sullivan said that job creation must also be a priority in the budget.

The Department of the Environment plans to spend the funds on 266 extra local authority homes before the end of the year.

The funding is coming from savings made in the department's capital budget and the houses and apartments will be purchased across the country.

Around €20m will be provided to local authorities to buy 131 homes, while €12.2m will result in the purchase of 135 properties that meet the needs of people with a disability.

Ms O’Sullivan also said the indications that the eurozone had exited recession are positive for Ireland.