The Secretary General of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, Robert Watt, has called for a debate on the fiscal rules.

The rules, which were agreed at a European level and ratified in a referendum here in 2012, govern how much can be spent in national budgets.

Robert Watt told an audience at the Dublin Economics Workshop in Wexford, that "...it's questionable whether these rules are appropriate in managing demand at this stage in our economic cycle..."

He went on to say there's an emerging view in Europe "...that the rules are too lax in good times and too inflexible to deal with weak demand conditions..." 

He said that "...better rules are required..." and urged for a debate to take place at the EU and in Dáil Éireann.

On the economy, Mr Watt said his view is that the recovery in the Irish economy is sustainable and that many lessons had been learned from the past.