People found guilty of perjury could face ten years in prison and a fine of up to €100,000 under proposals to be e examined by the Cabinet.

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan expects the changes will help deal with cases of insurance fraud.

Perjury is currently a common law offence that is rarely prosecuted.

The legislation, drawn up by Independent Senator Pádraig Ó Céidigh, could change all that.

It is seeking to put perjury on a statutory footing, a move that would make it far easier to prosecute.

The minister has worked closely with Senator Ó Céidigh on the legislation.

This has resulted in today's amendments to broaden the scope of the bill.

It will now include perjury committed during commissions of investigation and tribunals of inquiry.

The report stage of the bill will take place in the Seanad next week and it will then move to the Dáil.

Meanwhile, Chief Executive of the Irish SME association has said he fully supports Senator Ó Céidigh's bill.

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, Neil McDonnell said that at the moment it's difficult to prosecute people for perjury because we do not have a definition for perjury in Irish law.

He said the 2004 Civil Liability and Courts Act has been successful in allowing judges to throw out cases where there has been fraudulent evidence, but he said there has only been one prosecution for giving fraudulent evidence.

"For us, this will really serve as an educational tool as well - for gardaí, for the DPP and for judges," said Mr McDonnell.

"It's saying that this is not a victimless crime, and that telling lies under oath for personal gain - to avoid prison or sanction, or to make money - that is a really serious offence and you are going to pay for it."

Mr McDonnell said that he does not believe the changes will immediately affect insurance costs, but ultimately it could.