The German representative on the six-man European Central Bank Board has said Ireland should stick to the targets set by the Government in the upcoming Budget.

Speaking on RTÉ's The Business, Jorg Asmussen said Ireland has made significant progress so far and should stick to the €3.1 billon target set by the Government for cuts.

Mr Asmussen said Ireland still has high government debt and delaying adjustment is a risky strategy.

He added that the Government should stick to the plan to ensure austerity achieves a sustainable path.

Mr Asmussen also said he did not think the European Stability Mechanism would be used to retroactively fund Ireland's bailout of the banks.

His comments came in the wake of Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s insistence that Ireland's 12.5% corporation tax rate remains a cornerstone of policy and will not be touched in the upcoming Budget.

In a speech at an IBEC dinner in Dublin on Friday, Mr Kenny also reiterated the Government commitment that income tax will not be increased.

The Taoiseach said the Budget would be driven by two key objectives - to continue the necessary correction in our public finances.

The correction is in order to exit the EU/IMF bailout programme and to continue to invest in and incentivise jobs.

Mr Kenny said while significant risks remain, the country can look forward over the next 12 months with greater optimism than, perhaps, at any time in the last five years.