Banks could face additional taxes or levies if they continue to refuse to cut variable mortgage rates.

Tánaiste Joan Burton said the Government would examine these options, if banks refused to move on rates.

There are almost 300,000 people in Ireland with variable mortgages.

The interest paid by people with variable mortgages varies in line with lending rates to banks.

Borrowers with variable mortgage rates have been paying around 4% or more in interest.

The banks are borrowing at record lower rates and refusing to pass on the difference, which leaves borrowers paying well over the odds.

The Government is already preparing legislation to give the courts power to compel banks to accept reasonable deals brokered with those in mortgage arrears.

Ms Burton held out the prospect of further measures on variable mortgages.