The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform has said it is planned to extend free GP care to all children aged 11 and under, subject to successful negotiations with representatives of doctors.

The programme was made available to under 6s and over 70s in the current year.

Brendan Howlin said a total of €13.2 billion would be allocated to the health services in 2016.

He said €940 million of this would be made available to the Fair Deal nursing home scheme.

Funding would also be made available to provide therapeutic services for children, particularly for speech and language therapy.