A month might be a long time for those waiting on their next welfare or pay cheque at this time of record energy poverty. But - in politics at least - a week is a very long time in the cost of living crisis.

Up until the start of this week, the Government had been clear that there would be no intervention to alleviate pressures on households until October's Budget.

On Tuesday, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar told RTÉ’s News at One that there were no plans for measures before then.

"The Budget is coming, it is less than four months away at this stage," he said.

By Thursday, he was leaving the door ajar, telling the Dáil that "we are not ruling out further interim measures" while there was nothing "specifically planned".

Taoiseach Micheál Martin, who had been far more circumspect about the prospect of measures before the Budget, nonetheless said yesterday morning that there was "a lot of merit" in the proposals contained in the report by the ESRI, which recommended among other things - a Christmas bonus style double welfare payment.

The Government, Mr Martin told reporters in Tralee, would "act strategically" to ease pressures on people "without undermining the economy in the long term".

While there are no plans at this point to bring in measures before October, the tone has discernably changed in the past few days and the situation - it is now acknowledged by senior government sources - is "fluid".

If there were to be any measures, they would happen before the Dáil rises at the end of July. There will be political and economic considerations that will bring matters into sharp focus between now and then.

The first will be what happens at the pumps. Will prices rise and by how much? That will largely dictate whether it becomes politically tenable to hold the line that nothing should be done until October.

The second is the exchequer returns for the first half of the year, which will be published in two weeks’ time and give an accurate update on the public finances. This will be followed by the summer economic statement.

Talks on that between the Coalition party leaders and senior ministers will begin next week, and any interventions to help with the cost of living are likely to form part of those discussions.

Ministers suggest it is too early to be in any way specific or prescriptive about what interventions, if any, would be considered and it is understood that such a level of detail has not been discussed.

The ESRI suggested a double welfare payment.

Asked on RTÉ's Today with Claire Byrne whether that might happen before October, Minister of State at the Department of Finance Sean Fleming left the door open, saying: "I don’t know. But I would like to have a discussion on it in the next couple of weeks".

Such a measure would cost the exchequer in the region of €340 million, which would inevitably mean less money to spend in October's Budget.

Excise duty in petrol and diesel was cut in March. That is due to last until August. It has already cost the exchequer €320 million. Add an extension for a similar timeframe to the cost of a welfare bonus, and the budgetary room for manoeuvre looks a lot more limited.

At present, it is not certain that there will be any measures before the Dáil rises in July.

But as one minister put it, "the die is not cast".