The Taoiseach has given the clearest indication yet that the next Budget might not implement a full €3.1 billion in adjustments.
Enda Kenny suggested the Government was more intent on meeting the EU's deficit targets - of 5.1% of GDP - than implementing a set amount of packages.
Ratings agencies have said Ireland will probably exceed its deficit targets for 2014 if it implements a full package of spending cuts and tax increases.
Under the bailout programme the next Budget is due to implement €2 billion in spending cuts and €1.1 billion in new taxes, in order to reach the 5.1% target.
But given that Ireland has beaten every other target so far, the prevailing theory is that a full €3.1 billion euro package could bring Ireland well below the deficit target.
Yesterday the IMF said it would prefer to see Ireland implement the full 3.1 billion - but today Enda Kenny said he was more concerned with meeting the targets.
But he said the talks on the next Budget were only just getting underway - and a final decision on the total amount being implemented won't be rushed.
Michael Noonan can't make a full decision on the amount of cuts necessary until he learns how the economy is performing this year - and he won't know that until September.