New deal protects job security, says Cowen
TAOISEACH Brian Cowen contrasted job security in the public sector with job losses elsewhere as he urged union members to back the new pay deal.
He urged public servants to consider the "big picture" when deciding whether to vote in favour of the plan.
Amid growing opposition to the Croke Park deal, Mr Cowen claimed it offered a platform for progress and prosperity, and was the best the country could afford.
"I think in the overall context of the loss of employment we have seen in other sectors of the economy, what we're providing is job security in the public sector," he said.
"We're looking for improvements, redeployments and flexibilities that will improve the work environment for all public sector workers going forward."
The Taoiseach was on a trip to Drogheda yesterday where he opened the Irish National Guitar Festival.
But there was no escaping political pressures as he stepped into a swarm of angry protesters as he opened a new constituency office for recently appointed senator James Carroll.
UNITE union members and employees of troubled insurance company Quinn Direct gathered across the road and blocked traffic for a time.
Afterwards Mr Cowen reiterated that the Government was concerned about the plight of more than 5,000 Quinn workers.
The Taoiseach said that discussions would continue over the weekend to see if a solution could be found to the crisis before Monday, when the High Court is due to be asked to confirm the appointment of the provisional administrator.
"Obviously there are regulatory issues that have to be addressed. The whole purpose of the current discussions is to see if a solution can be found that meets the requirements off everyone involved'," he said.