The Minister for Finance has said that he expects to get the financial flexibility he requires from the European Commission in the application of budget rules.

Earlier this week Michael Noonan said the flexibility shown to France on its budget deficits should be extended to other countries.

This could include a change in the way growth rates are measured, which would allow for more freedom in government spending.

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, Michael Noonan said that he had significant support on the issue. 

"I have quite significant political support and it's going back now to the technical staff of the commission and they will engage with officials from the Department of Finance,” he said.

“I've no doubt we will make progress... I'm not predicting what the end point will be but I expect to get the flexibility I require."

Mr Noonan said the strong growth rate of the economy will also give him more resources for State services. He said it was not just a statistical advantage.

"An economy growing at almost 5% creates a lot of extra jobs and it gives me the resources that I can use to repair the services like health and education that need more money,” he said.

“And it also gives me the resources to fulfil the commitment I made in the last Budget to continue to reduce personal taxes, along the lines of what I did in the last Budget."

Mr Noonan said that the deficit will continue to go down and he expects the rate of unemployment to fall to 9% later in the year. 

He said his officials are working to extend "the menu of options" to those in mortgage arrears but said he did not believe there was a one-size-fits-all solution.

Mr Noonan said he had no objection to the term for bankruptcy being re-examined by an appropriate Dáil committee.

Meanwhile, he said the State's stake in AIB will be sold in tranches and the earliest he would contemplate such a sale would be later this year, but said he felt 2016 was more likely.