The coalition leaders and senior ministers had what is being described as a "good discussion" this afternoon on the next package of cost-of-living measures.

It is understood that further work will be undertaken into next week with the expectation that the package will be signed off at next Tuesday's Cabinet meeting.

Those attending included the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar; Tanaiste Micheal Martin, Green Party leader and Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan, Minister for Finance Michael McGrath, Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe; and Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys.

Government said the package will continue to provide some assistance to families, businesses and the most vulnerable.

Mr Varadkar said last night that expectations need to be tempered against the financial limits set by last September's Budget.

He re-iterated that this new package would be no mini budget, and added that the coalition needs to strike a balance between being affordable for the taxpayer, and yet, sufficient to help people and businesses up to the next budget.

Mr Martin said he wants the 50% cut to public transport costs for students and young adults to continue beyond 2023, while accepting that the government has faced a conflict between pursing its climate action targets and assisting people with the cost-of-living crisis.

He told the Dáil that there was a tension in assisting the public to fill their cars with petrol and diesel, or subsidising their home heating, and accepted these policies can have a negative climate impact.

Labour leader Ivana Bacik said that untargetted electricty credits were not the way to go, and she called on the government to adopt her party's plan for a €9 "climate ticket" which would give bus and rail public transport travel for a month and take the equivalent of 23,000 cars off roads.

The Tánaiste declared that he was not "anti-road" as they were needed for bus transport and electrical vehicles, adding that the Macroom bypass provided pollution relief for the people living in the area and improved safety.

Love in the air but cupboards are bare

Mr McGrath is understood to have told TDs, Senators and MEPs that the Government needs to retain some resources to be able to help later in the year.

And he is said to have emphasised that when it came to the 9% VAT rate for the hospitality sector, it would cost €500m to extend to the end of the year.

Revenue had advised against splitting accommodation from food and the Cabinet needed to decide on what represented the best use of resources.

Opposition parties charge that the Government's €11 billion Budget last September did not go far enough, and predict that this next round of financial assistance also looks set to fail.

Michelle Murphy, Research and Policy Analyst at Social Justice Ireland, said targeted measures are needed from the Government's cost of living supports.

Speaking on RTÉ'S Today with Claire Byrne, Ms Murphy said the bottom 20% of the population in terms of income should benefit the most, such as households on fixed incomes and those in low paid jobs, in order to tackle income inadequacy as they are impacted the most.

"We haven't seen the approach that prioritises those households," she said.

"The budget was once off measures, those on fixed incomes are worse off today than they were this time last year and that's where Government’s challenge comes in.

"You have to question the value of €400m spent on a universal energy credit rather than an €8 increase in core social welfare and refundable tax credits."

Meanwhile, the head of Social Justice at St Vincent de Paul said the charity expects to see an increase in child poverty in the coming months as almost half of the households that SVP supports are single parent families.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Dr Tricia Keilthy said fuel poverty and energy poverty were issues long before the current cost of living crisis.

She called on the Government to look at more targeted supports and a commitment to benchmarking social welfare this year.