The Tánaiste has reiterated his view that any budget concessions for landlords would also have to include measures for renters.

However, Leo Varadkar added that while all budget proposals would be considered, discussions to finalise the budget would continue through the weekend.

But he said rents were out of kilter with other countries.

He also rejected what he claimed was a Sinn Féin plan to give renters €1,500 a year but then taking financial assistance from first-time buyers.

Earlier, Sinn Féin's Pearse Doherty said an entire generation is locked into an unaffordable rental market and locked out of ever buying a home.

Renters must be prioritised with rents in Dublin now priced on average at more than €2,000, he said.

The Donegal TD called for a measure to put money back in renters' pockets coupled with a ban on rent increases.

Responding, Mr Varadkar said increases in social housing will help renters because it will free up properties for rent.

He also pointed to the Help to Buy scheme and Cost Rental initiatives as offering solutions.

Govt to consider reducing public transport costs

The Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has told the Dáil that the Government will give consideration to extending, if not improving, reductions in public transport costs in Budget 2023.

He said Ireland had a high cost of living before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and this budget provided the Coalition with an opportunity to bring down costs in areas like transport, healthcare, and childcare and ensure we're not "out of kilter with countries similar to ours".

The Fine Gael leader said the Government would introduce, in next Tuesday's budget, a multi-billion euro package to off-set recent price increases, adding people will feel that in more money in their pockets and reductions in their bills.

He was responding to the Labour leader, Ivana Bacik, who called on the Government to adopt a serious and substantial cost of living package - arguing that her party believes a €4 billion package is required in one-off measures.

The Dublin Bay South TD said Labour was calling for a cap on childcare costs; the introduction of a monthly €9 public transport climate ticket providing unlimited journeys; and free GP for all young people under 18.

Deputy Bacik said the Government needed to show an "ambition of scale" to tackle the cost-of-living crisis, which involved radical measures akin to the Covid-19 pandemic to help sustain families, households and businesses.

The Tánaiste said it was the Government's intention to reduce costs in childcare but he was opposed to Labour's public transport initiative - stating a similar measure in Germany had been abandoned due to affordability concerns.

Older people 'frightened' ahead of winter

Many older people will protest in Dublin this weekend because they are "frightened" about the winter and are living in poverty, according to the People Before Profit Solidarity TD, Richard Boyd Barrett.

He told the Dáil he expects "thousands and thousands" to take part in a march to the Dáil planned for this Saturday, to demand "relief and protection" from the rising cost of living.

Deputy Boyd Barrett said if W.B. Yeats was writing today, he would write that "this is no country for older people, it's no country for younger people, it’s no country for working people and its no country for people with disabilities or the vulnerable".

"But it is a country for profit hungry energy companies, big corporations and property vultures, for the greedy and obscenely wealthy. It is that sense that is going to lead thousands and thousands of people on the street next Saturday to assemble at Parnell Square and march to the Dáil, to demand relief and protection from the cost of living and housing disaster that people are suffering," he said.

He predicted that many older people will attend the weekend cost-of-living protest, because "any pensioners who are solely dependent on the State pension, live below what the CSO says is the minimum weekly disposable income necessary not to live in poverty".

"Older people are frightened as we face in to the winter, and that is why they will be out on the streets," he said.

He added that many younger people are planning to leave the country because they cannot afford to pay rent and face a future of uncertainty in Ireland.

However, the Tánaiste responded by saying there wasn't an outflow of people from the country, but the reverse is the case. He said the population increased by 89,000 last year and that included more Irish citizens returning to Ireland than left.

He said that the UN considers Ireland to be one of the top ten countries in the world in which to live.

Leo Varadkar said the Government will respond to the cost-of-living crisis with measures that are targeted and that help everyone.

Additional reporting: Mary Regan, Paul Cunningham