Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton has confirmed that the cost to the taxpayer of the Clerys liquidation is set to run into millions.

Speaking as she arrived at the ICTU conference in Ennis, she described the actions of the owners of Clerys as "predator capitalism".

She said it was not right that the owners had left workers in the lurch and left the State facing the redundancy bill.

The State had better things to do with its money than bail them out, she said.

Given that the effect of the owners' actions was to place its private obligation to pay redundancy onto the State, she said she will use every legal avenue to vindicate the State and taxpayers' rights in this regard.

Ms Burton also said she expects a Low Pay Commission report, due this month, to recommend a rise in the national minimum wage.

The minimum wage, currently at €8.65 an hour, was the minimum value put on work, she said.

However, she acknowledged that while it was a protection against exploitation, it was not a guarantee of fair or even adequate wages.

The Tánaiste signed the new ICTU charter on workers' rights, which includes a commitment to pursue the introduction of the living wage calculated at €11.45.