The Government will be able to recapitalise the credit unions by up to €1 billion with funds put aside for the country's banks that were not fully used.

"I seriously intend sorting out the credit unions and some of them we'll have to do immediately but we won't do it in one big bang," Finance Minister Michael Noonan told the Seanad today.

"My advice already is that it will cost between €0.5-1 billion because the major sorting out is recapitalisation. We recapitalised the banks for less than we expected so we have the resources, we won't have to go back to exchequer for it,'' he added.

Mr Noonan also said that the National Asset Management Agency has begun to move more efficiently than previously. He said that a senior international banker has been examining NAMA on his behalf this week.