Ahead of over 90 protests against water charges tomorrow, Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton has said that water charges will be modest and capped and that the Government is examining a "fair price".

Ms Burton told RTÉ's Six One News that a flat rate charge will be available for a period of time, adding that it is impossible to have a metered system unless almost all households have a meter.

The Tánaiste acknowledged the time frame for the implementation of water charges was ambitious.

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has said decisions on just how much people will end up paying for water will be announced in the next couple of weeks.

Mr Noonan said yesterday's meeting of the Economic Management Council focused on the issues of certainty about what charges people would face in the future and of affordability.

His comments come ahead of protests against water charges across the country tomorrow, with tens of thousands of demonstrators due to take to the streets.

Meanwhile, the Right2Water campaign said there are now over 90 marches being planned for tomorrow to highlight opposition to the charges.

Traffic restrictions will be in place in a number of areas.

Timeframe for setting up Irish Water too short - Rabbitte

Meanwhile, former Cabinet minister Pat Rabbitte has said not enough time was allowed by the Government for the smooth establishment of Irish Water.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Mr Rabbitte said: "The expert advice across the water, for example, where water companies have been established, is that it would take three to five years.

"Here, under constant pressure from the Troika, the Government sought to have it under way in two years.

"That timeframe was too short and is the root cause of some of the difficulties that are now confronting us."

Speaking on the same programme, People Before Profit/United Left Alliance TD Richard Boyd Barrett rejected Mr Rabbitte's claims. 

He said the Troika would have been happy if a wealth tax was introduced instead of water charges, as long as the money was raised.

Mr Barrett also said protests against water charges are having an effect.

"I am saying that people power is working. Protests are working and the Government are backtracking at a rate of knots."

He added: "But they haven't backtracked far enough and what people want is the abolition of these water charges.

"We defeated these water charges in the 1980s, we defeated them again in the 1990s and we are committed to defeating them."

Tomorrow's protests follow a national demonstration that took place in Dublin city centre at the beginning of the month.

The Right2Water campaign says it will continue to build a mass movement of opposition to water charges.

The campaign, which involves trade unions, political parties and community groups, believes people are angry and unified in their opposition to these unfair charges.

SIPTU favours refundable tax credit

However, the General President of SIPTU has said preventing the introduction of water charges will mean people will end up paying more for water rather than less.

Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Seán O'Rourke, Jack O'Connor said he was certainly not suggesting that people should not protest.

He said what was currently being envisaged with water charges was a regressive charge.

Mr O'Connor said he and his union favoured a different solution, and had been trying to persuade the Government for months to introduce a proper refundable tax credit that would offset the cost of everyone's normal need for water.

He called on the Government to defer water charges and to ask either Irish Water or another body to conduct surveys to establish people's normal need for water.

In a statement issued this morning by the Anti-Austerity Alliance, Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins accused Mr O'Connor of acting as "the mudguard for the Labour Party", and said he had refused to support the protests tomorrow.

Mr Higgins said that if Mr O'Connor was serious about putting forward an alternative, he would be actively fighting to scrap the water charge, and to have a wealth tax implemented which could more than cover the cost of the water charge.