Cabinet approves €665 million bailout for health service

A special meeting of Ministers was held this morning, at which the end-of-year bailout was agreed

Updated 12.41

The Cabinet has held a special meeting to sign off on a €665 million bailout for the health service.

The bailout is around 10% higher than had previously been signalled.

Sources said the funding would go towards covering the cost of services like free GP care, which have already been delivered.

The increased supplementary budget means the Cabinet has now approved over €1.2 billion in extra spending for various departments this year.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny's defended the extra money this afternoon in the Dáil: "The government concluded on the supplementary estimate for health this morning, which is a serious increase on what was there for the last number of years. And that's all aimed, within the prudent management of the economy, to attempt to provide the very best level of service that we can for patients of the country."

Earlier today, the Minister for Finance confirmed that Exchequer returns for November are €470 million higher than expected.