Taoiseach Brian Cowen has told the Dáil that the supplementary Budget will be introduced on Tuesday April 7.

Brian Cowen also said that the Dáil will come back a week earlier that planned from its Easter break to debate the economic crisis.

Opposition leaders said they wanted more information on the options available to the Government to cut spending.

Talk of the impending supplementary Budget dominated this morning's Dáil session. Opposition leaders said that if they are to take up the invitation of the Government and contribute suggestions on how to cut spending they would need more information.

The Taoiseach indicated that some information will be forthcoming but said budgetary matters are confidential.

He said the supplementary Budget means that necessary but difficult decisions will have to be taken.

Meanwhile, Tanaiste Mary Coughlan has said the Government had made no final decisions on the contents of the supplementary Budget, but that a mixture of measures would be taken.

She said it was very important not to have a 'deflationary aspect to the economy', but added that it equally very important to attain the borrowing target of 9.5% of GDP set by the European Commission.

Warning of misguided and naive proposals

The head of Irish Life's retail business says that calls to target pension tax reliefs in next month's supplementary Budget are 'misguided and naive'.

Gerry Hassett says any such moves could store up unprecedented financial problems for future generations.

Mr Hassett says that opponents of relief at the higher rate were seeking to caricature it as something only the super-rich availed of. This was a myth, he stated as the Government as already acted to restrict abuse of pension scheme by the very wealthy.

'The overwhelming majority of people availing of this relief are middle income earners who are trying to make some contribution to funding their retirement needs. They are not abusing the system or shirking their tax responsibilities,' he said.