An international think tank has recommended that the Government step up the involvement of Oireachtas committees in the preparations for the Budget.

It also said that politicians should receive training to scrutinise the State's finances.  

The Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) has recommended that Ireland holds parliamentary hearings on fiscal planning before the Budget. 

It said some studies have placed Ireland "lowest" among OECD countries for effective parliamentary engagement in budgeting. 

It has also suggested that politicians and officials receive "professional development" so they can engage in "rigourous scrutiny" of the public finances.  

In its report, the OECD recommended that the Oireachtas holds pre-Budget hearings in July which could inform committees of priorities for that year's budget.

The OECD said that annual estimates should be considered and voted on by the Dáil before the start of the Budget year.  

It also said that Oireachtas committees should examine the outturn with accounting officers. 

Other recommendations included the setting up of an Irish Parliamentary Budget office to equip politicians to engage "more effectively" with budgetary matters. 

It also recommended a National Performance Quality Panel be established which would set benchmarks which could be included in budgetary documentation.