Top public servants including medical consultants, CEOs of State bodies, certain members of the judiciary and senior civil servants are to have their pay restored to pre-austerity levels on 1 July.

Financial Emergency (FEMPI) legislation was used to cut the pay of public servants as part of the austerity measures introduced following the financial crash of 2008.

Salary rates up to €150,000, which account for 99% of the public service, have been fully restored.

Under the Public Service Pay and Pensions Act, salaries for those earning above €150,000 are due to be restored by 1 July.

According to a Government source, in advance of the restoration date, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath sought legal advice to establish whether the Government had any discretion in relation to the remaining restoration.

The legal advice received confirmed it was not permissible to amend or delay the terms of restoration, either within the current legislation or by means of further legislation.

It is understood the legal advice indicated the Government had no basis not to proceed with the restoration and, as a result, it will have to take place on 1 July in accordance with the law.

Legislation passed by the Oireachtas in 2017, supported by Government and opposition parties including Sinn Féin and Labour, provided for completion of restoration for those earning over €150,000 to take place no later than 1 July 2022.

Around 4,000 public servants are due for salary restoration, over 90% of whom are medical consultants who will receive increases ranging from 1.7% to 10%.

Other posts impacted include some CEOs of State bodies, certain members of the judiciary and senior civil servants.

It is understood the pay restoration will cost €30 million for the remainder of this year.

Public servants who benefit from FEMPI restoration are not eligible for further pay increases in the year of restoration.

Ministers and office holders do not benefit from the restoration.

Meanwhile, the Government has signalled that public sector pay talks could resume shortly.

Negotiations at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) ended last Friday without agreement after unions claimed that the Government's offer of wage increases fell far short of inflation.

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'Difficult period' ahead, warns Ryan

Meanwhile, the Minister for the Environment has warned of a "difficult period" this autumn and winter as households struggle with the cost of energy.

Eamon Ryan said that it was important that the Government focuses supports around that time "when the fuel bills really hit home".

Arriving at this morning's Cabinet meeting at Dublin Castle, Minister Ryan said that he expects Government will act on the cost of childcare in this year's budget, however he did not indicate how.

Asked about EU contingency plans to manage a potential shortage of fuel over the coming months, Mr Ryan said that Ireland would probably avoid the worst effect of fuel shortages, however he added that his department continues to manage the situation.

He said he will travel to meet fellow EU ministers next week, to discuss the energy crisis.

People Before Profit TD Paul Murphy said people cannot wait for the Budget for the Government to help offset the rising cost of living.

"People are facing thousands of euros in extra costs between petrol or diesel, electricity, heating, groceries, while their incomes are stagnating".

Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Claire Byrne, Mr Murphy said there has not been wage increases globally, but what there has been is massive profiteering.

"We need to actually tackle the price increases and tackle the profiteering that is behind the price increases.

"So the Government has the power, and should use the power, to introduce price controls.

"For example, on electricity, on petrol and diesel, on home heating oil to say that the kind of extortionate profiteering that is happening by the electricity companies, by the oil and gas companies, simply cannot be allowed, and to set a maximum unit price, and similarly do so in terms of rent controls bring in rent controls to bring rents down to an affordable level.

"We think we need to tax the windfall profits being made by the big energy companies and the electricity companies", he said.

Additional reporting, Paul Cunningham, Tommy Meskill