Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin has said money from the sale of State assets could be used to fund voluntary redundancies in the public service.

Mr Howlin said it is better to move on people on the public payroll if they have no work to do.

Should the Department of Health or the HSE have staff that cannot be redeployed then he would consider a targeted voluntary scheme, he said.

However, Mr Howlin added that cutting numbers alone does not always improve services and it is often better to find new ways of providing them.

Mr Howlin said his department will undertake a comprehensive review of capital and current expenditure this year.