Friday 6 December 2019

Croke Park 'will be revisited, but public pay won't be cut'

Fiach Kelly Political Correspondent

FINANCE Minister Brian Lenihan last night said he will look for more savings from public sector reform.

Mr Lenihan indicated the Croke Park agreement, negotiated earlier this year with public sector unions, will be revisited but said public pay will not be cut.

Speaking after the announcement that the Government will seek €15bn in cuts and taxes over the next four years, Mr Lenihan said the deal could be "broadened and deepened".

The agreement froze wages in the public sector until 2014 and also said compulsory redundancies cannot be implemented across the state workforce in the same timeframe.

But the deal does look for savings from the way the public sector is run, such as redeployment of workers, and Mr Lenihan indicated he may look for more savings in the future.

"I do think that the ambition of the Croke Park agreement will have to be broadened and deepened in relation to the savings that can be secured by it but in relation to the pay provisions, the Government has no plan there," he said.

He said there had been a "considerable delay" in the ratification of the agreement and he also raised the delay in introducing changed work practices with some government departments. The departments would now be "more ambitious" in driving change, he added.

There will be further plans to bring numbers down, but he said it could be done through natural wastage -- where those retiring were not replaced, and voluntary redundancies.

Irish Independent

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