IRELAND - The Irish government is to revise the National Pensions Reserve Fund's (NPRF) investment policy, currently enshrined in law, as it seeks to allow for a "continuing level" of investment amidst austerity measures.

Responding to a question in parliament about the "best use" of the NPRF's remaining €5.4bn in assets, the minister for finance Michael Noonan said the government was committed to boosting the Ireland's economic activity.

He told the Dáil that the government believed the fund would be able to make a "significant" contribution to generating employment - despite three-quarters of assets being diverted to shore up Irish banks since the onset of the financial crisis - and pointed towards the previously announced Strategic Investment Fund, said to be targeting areas of "significance" to the economy.

He listed a number of other projects focused on the domestic market, such as fund assets being diverted to fund the installation of water meters - following the reintroduction of water bills as a result of budget cuts.

"The resulting greater concentration of investment in Ireland on the part of the NPRF is expected to require the amendment of the NPRF's investment policy, which is set out in the National Pensions Reserve Fund Act 2000," Noonan said.

"Officials of my department are liaising with the National Treasury Management Agency in identifying and drafting the necessary amendments to the legislation and I expect to bring forward proposals for amending legislation as soon as possible once that work is completed," he added.

The finance minister stressed that that the NPRF would also take a lead role in the development and implementation of the Strategic Investment Fund, to be divided into a number of sub-funds based on the specific investment target.

The Irish government has previously been forced to change legislation governing the NPRF, as the initial bill barred any asset drawdown ahead of 2025 - with the funds earmarked to pay for the country's outstanding and unfunded public service pension.

There have been repeated calls from unions and opposition parties to focus a greater amount of the remaining NPRF assets towards infrastructure projects, with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions recently calling for half of fund assets to be earmarked for infrastructure projects.