Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe has said he hopes to begin negotiations on a new pay agreement with trade union groups before the end of May.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, he said that he expects to receive the final report of the Public Service Pay Commission before the middle of next month, after which the Government will invite unions into discussions.

Mr Donohoe says he expects the negotiations to be "incredibly challenging" but said the Government is committed to delivering further productivity and delivering an extension of the Lansdowne Road Agreement.

He said fairness will be his aim for the agreement, but noted that the "needs and expectations" are demanding.

Mr Donohoe said he wants to maintain the outcomes already achieved in relation to some previous cuts to conditions such as sick pay.