Labour leader Joan Burton has launched a strong attack on Sinn Féin at her party's mini-conference in Wexford.

The Tánaiste has claimed Sinn Féin wanted what she termed a 'welfare economy' and not a working economy, adding they were showing in Government in Northern Ireland how they would misgovern the Republic.

The Minister for Social Protection told Labour TDs and Senators that the Government would not be able to dramatically boost household income in the forthcoming budget, but aimed to increase take home pay over successive budgets.

Asked about the prospects of a retrospective deal on our banking debt Ms Burton said there was more than one way to skin a cat as she put it - what mattered was what would ease the cost of our debt and stabilise the economy, adding that there were a number of ways to accomplish this.

Earlier, Ms Burton confirmed that the Government is strongly supportive of a proposal to introduce a back-to-work dividend in the Budget.

The scheme will allow parents who take up low-paid employment to hold onto welfare payments worth up to €30 per child per week.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Ms Burton said the initiative would work on a sliding scale over a period of time.

She said similar schemes had been successful in the past and "not hugely costly".

Ms Burton said she had discussed the proposed back-to-work dividend with the Taoiseach during talks on the formation of a new Cabinet and on previous occasions.

The Tánaiste said that throughout her political career she had been "focused, relentlessly, on getting people back to work", and said she wanted to provide an incentive for parents who wished to return to the workplace.

Ms Burton said Ireland had begun a slow recovery, but she said it would not be possible to restore the billions taken out of the economy in one, or even five Budgets.

The Government would, however, be able to "steady growth, expansion and investment" in the Budget on 14 October.