Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin has said some pay and pension cuts in the public sector will be reversed as exchequer finances improve.

Mr Howlin said talks with unions will begin next year, but it is not clear when exactly such measures might come in.

Public sector union IMPACT has welcomed the comments saying pay must move as the economy recovers.  

In an article in today's Irish Independent, Mr Howlin said reversals would have to be done in an orderly way.

Not all pay cuts will be reinstated and they will not all happen at the same time.

The Department of Public Expenditure stressed that potential wage increases are at a very early planning stage, and current pay is covered by the Haddington Road Agreement, which runs until 2016.

Pay increases are already on the agenda for new hospital consultants.

IMPACT said the economy is improving sooner than expected and pay must move in the right direction.

The union said it expects talks to begin before the middle of next year with wage increases expected during 2016.

The CPSU, the union representing lower paid civil and public servants, has said its members should be first in line for some element of pay restoration.

Derek Mullen, CPSU deputy general secretary, said they had suffered enormously with pay cuts in the order of 14%.