Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan is to examine ways to reduce the financial burden on motorists facing a hike in toll charges from the beginning of next year.

It follows a discussion on the issue among Government party leaders this evening.

It is unlikely, however, that a proposal on the matter will be ready on time for tomorrow's Cabinet meeting.

But tonight there appears to be a determination within Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael that Government intervention is required.

Earlier, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the country is in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis and the Government's aim is to reduce the cost of public services.

Last week, Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) announced that it will increase tolls on nine out of ten roads from 1 January 2023.

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Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland programme today, Mr Ryan said the increases are "contracted under law".

"Most of the tolling operators are independent. They are not owned or directed by the Government. They have the right to see an index linking which is what this is, a 10c increase in most cases."

Yesterday, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar told RTÉ's This Week programme that he would like to see the increases deferred or reduced.

Responding Mr Ryan said if that was to happen the toll operators would have to be compensated.

"If that was the case, what I would be very reluctant to do is to take money from what we are spending on, which is increasing public transport, increasing road maintenance," he said.

Sinn Féin transport spokesperson Darren O'Rourke called on the minister to "bring all possible pressure to bear on toll road operators and TII to scrap price hikes".

There are ten toll roads on the national road network.

Eight are operated under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model, while two - the M50 and Dublin Port Tunnel - are operated directly on behalf of TII.

The Dublin Port Tunnel is the only route that will not be affected by price increases.

TII said revenue is used for purposes including motorway maintenance, toll collection and operations, and for the maintenance of the wider national road network.