The Government is to seek Dáil approval for a series of changes to the way the annual budget process works.

The aim is to improve the quality of budget making by having a year-round budget process involving Dáil Committees, rather than concentrating on a single budget day each October.

The proposal for this year’s budget foresees a spring economic statement in June, in which the Government will set out a revised estimate of the money available to increase the size of the budget - the fiscal space.

This will be followed at the end of June by another National Economic Dialogue, which gives stakeholders and social partners an input into the process.

In July there will be the first ever Spending Statement, outlining spending limits for each department, and reporting on spending patterns over the first six months of the year.

This will give TDs a "no policy change" starting point for departmental spending for 2017.

After this, committees can work up to the summer recess examining spending plans in detail, and making suggestions for budget allocations.

Those suggestions will then feed into the Government’s own budget-making process in early September, ahead of the draft budget publication in mid-October.

The changes respond to criticism by international organisations such as the OECD of Ireland's budget-making process, notably that it concentrates too much power in the hands of the government of the day, and that parliamentarians had little input or ownership of the process.

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe and Minister for Finance Michael Noonan this evening welcomed the proposals.

Mr Donohoe said: "The reforms the Government are now bringing forward to the budgetary process are a major innovation in empowering the Dáil to examine, debate and make recommendations to Government on budgetary priorities."

Mr Noonan said: "These new milestones in the budgetary cycle are intended to mark a decisive shift away from what has been characterised by the OECD as a disconnected series of annual set-piece events replacing it with ongoing and active engagement with the Houses of the Oireachtas and its committees throughout the course of the budget cycle.

"The Government's reforms will provide all members of the Oireachtas with the opportunity to influence and critique budget allocations and priorities, making budgetary debate and discussion in Ireland more realistic, informed and effective."