Howlin wants pay talks concluded by Budget time
THE Government will open talks on pay with unions in April, Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Brendan Howlin confirmed.
And he expects to have an agreement hammered out by late summer so that unions can ballot their members in September.
This would see talks conclude just before the final Budget ahead of next year's general election.
However he cautioned public sector workers against expecting pay rises soon, insisting Haddington Road will run its full course until the summer of 2016.
Mr Howlin told an Oireachtas committee that expectations of pay increases must be "realistic".
He wants to have at least the first quarter Exchequer returns available before he responds to any pay claims.
Meanwhile Simon Harris, junior minister with responsibility for the Office of Public Works, said he does not believe anyone "ran off" with 21 works of art currently missing from Leinster House.