Recent fluctuations in the value of the Euro against Sterling will be "a very important consideration" in influencing how the Government will frame Budget 2018, the Minister for Finance has said.

Paschal Donohoe was speaking to reporters outside Government Buildings after his second meeting with the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, in the last fortnight.

On the issue of currency changes in recent weeks, the Minister said "this is an area that is essentially important to our economy".

He pledged to engage with the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed and Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald on the matter ahead of the budget.

The Minister said, "If you look at 2015, we saw €1 buying around 70p. We are now in a situation where €1 gets you 92p. This is the kind of development that we need to monitor very carefully within our economy.

"As I look at how this year has developed, we have seen our exporting performance to the UK increase by 13% despite those currency developments. But this is something that is going to be a very important consideration for me as we frame Budget 2018."



He added, "It demonstrates the need for us to have solid foundations for our economy, to make right decisions as to how we support exporters and I will be engaging with my colleagues particularly Minister Creed and Minister Fitzgerald in relation to what kind of measures we can consider that will support exporters in terms of market diversification and selling their goods and services abroad as we see these kinds of currency developments.

"It is a matter that the Government and I are very much aware of and a development like that is going to be a very important development in terms of how we frame the Budget."

On his meeting with the UK Chancellor, the Minister said, "I emphasised to him that the focus the Irish Government had place in relation to transitional agreements.

"That we felt it was important to see that formally acknowledged in the papers made available by the British government.

"We also emphasised the commitments that are in the paper from the British government in relation to the lack of physical infrastructure on the border.

"That has been absolutely essential in terms of how we are going to manage trade on our island and protect the gains that have been secured as part of the Good Friday Agreement and the Peace Process."

He added, "I made it clear to him that Ireland will be approaching these issues as part of the EU 27 as that's the best framework for managing the issues that are emerging in Brexit negotiations.

"I made it clear to Philip that we believe that the membership of the United Kingdom in the Customs Union or as close as is possible to that is the best framework for managing many of the difficulties that are now developing as a result of Brexit, and will only get worse as this process continues."

When asked about reports from Bloomberg that the bankers pay caps may be dropped, Mr Donohoe replied, "I have made no decision in relation to this matter but it is a policy that we are going to monitor in light of our efforts to strengthen our offering in financial services in light of Brexit."