The Minister for Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform has said he is "absolutely certain" that all of the income support commitments made by the Government can be sustained for the agreed 12 week period.

But Paschal Donohoe said a decision "on how much further we could go, depends on where we stand with Covid-19."

Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Seán O'Rourke, the Minister said the pandemic unemployment payment and the wage subsidy scheme used by 40,000 companies is costing the state between "€300-400m per week".

He said this can be funded for a 12 week period. 

He supported comments made earlier by the Minister for Health Simon Harris that any return to activity, in early May, would be guided by public health authorities and would be "very graduated". 

Mr Donohoe agreed that the public finances are not a "bottomless pit".

He reiterated points made yesterday in the Dáil that the economic measures in place are "emergency measures", and that when Ireland exits the Covid-19 crisis, "decisions will have to be made". 

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In relation to the Fianna Fáil/Fine Gael framework document, Minister Donohoe contested comments from other political parties that the document includes "licenses to write blank cheques" and "lacks specifics". 

He said he has been part of the national effort to get Ireland's finances into surplus and said "there is no way we are going to be part of anything that unravels all of that." 

"I have been the Minister for Finance for the last number of years in successive governments which have seen a transformation in the quality of our national finances.

"Those finances are now being tested on the ability to fund Covid-19 measures. There is no way Leo Varadkar and Fine Gael would put that progress at risk," Mr Donohoe stated.

The joint document is "not a programme for government" the Minister said, but it does include commitments to capital expenditure, Sláintecare and increasing bed capacity as well as building more housing. 

He said the "detail and affordability of it is something that will be the subject of a programme for government." 

He said when the country emerges from Covid-19 "a very large majority of people will be facing a lower income".

Increases in income tax or in USC would not be used to support those who are suffering financially as a result of Covid-19, he added. 

He said the document is clear that the deficit has to be reduced but he said the choices will have to form part of whether a programme for government can be formed with other parties. 

The next few weeks will be crucial, according to Minister Donohoe, who said it is critical that a government is formed with "at least three parties." 

He said a programmed for government needs "to get the balance right between affordability and the aspiration of the Irish people at this point in time."