The Taoiseach has said the Government is "very conscious of the extraordinary pressures" on households and businesses, due to the "unprecedented level" of energy price increases.

Micheál Martin said the Government is "conscious that we have to take measures to alleviate that pressure" in the Budget later this month, given "the enormous impact" it is having on people.

He made the comments in Oxford, England, where he is addressing the British Irish Association Conference which is marking its 50th anniversary.

The Fianna Fáil leader also referenced yesterday's Exchequer figures, which recorded a surplus of €6.3 billion at the end of August.

Mr Martin said: "There are limits to what we can do. We don't want to compound the inflation issue and make it worse. We have to do it in a strategic way."

The Taoiseach added: "We are looking at a once off cost-of-living package that will be applicable to this calander year, and then the Budget which will take us through to 2023."

Social Democrats TD Jennifer Whitmore called on the Government to ensure in Budget 2023 that households and businesses are not landed with the costs of the dramatic energy price rises.

The Wicklow deputy said: "Previous measures brought in by the Government have not been targeted enough.... The resources are there.

"The Government does have a surplus. They need to now redistribute that back, so that individuals and families are not carrying that cost."

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett dismissed the Taoiseach's statement that there are limits to what the Government can do in Budget 2023 to offset the rise in the cost of living.

The Dun Laoghaire deputy said: "People are being absolutely crushed. How are they supposed to absorb 50%, 60%, 70% increases in their energy bills? In the cost of basic goods?

"Rents are at absolutely unaffordable levels."

Also today, the Taoiseach said the results of last May's Assembly elections in Northern Ireland "should be honoured" and the institutions should be up and running.

Speaking in Oxford this morning, he said: "We should avoid the need for any further elections."

Mr Martin said: "The people of Northern Ireland gave a mandate to their politicians. We're going through unprecedented energy price increases... There is a responsibility and obligation on politicians there to respond to that."

He added that the "most effective" way to do that was the speedy return of Stormont, and there was an "imperative" to do that.

He also said the election of a new British Prime Minister next week presents an opportunity to "reset" the relationship between Britain and Ireland.

The Taoiseach said the Government is "very anxious" that happens.

Mr Martin said: "The spirit within which we are approaching next week, and beyond, is a constructive one.

"There is an imperative on us all to work together in a constructive way and we're prepared to do that."

The European Commission vice president, Maroš Šefčovič, attended the same event in Oxford.

He warned British legislation currently before parliament to empower UK ministers to unilaterally override parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol is "damaging trust and respect" with the EU.