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€190,000 salary ceiling only 'for future employees'

THE Labour party has admitted they will not be able to immediately enforce a plan to impose a ceiling on public sector pay if it gets into office.

The party yesterday proposed an upper limit of €190,000 on salaries across the public sector as well as reforms in the pensions system.

However, former leader Pat Rabbitte said it would only be possible to implement the plans for those who would be joining the public sector in the future.

"You can't issue a diktat saying that 'from March 1 your remuneration package is now X when it was X plus Y'," he said.

"You can apply such a regime for the future and you can use considerable moral sway on people to come into line on that, who are in existing service."

Labour announced a series of policies for government reform should it be successful in the upcoming election. The party wants to abolish the Seanad and increase the number of hours the Dail sits by 50pc.

Frontbench spokesman Brendan Howlin said the Seanad, in its present state, "really isn't fit for purpose".


"The way we are looking at -- not only institutions in the Oireachtas but every institution in the state -- is it doing a job that no one else can do?" he added.

"Is it washing its own face and if it doesn't, then it should be abolished or subsumed into some (thing which) can do it more efficiently or better."

Labour also wants the right to seek the resignation of all those appointed to state boards since November 22, when the Greens announced they were pulling out of the Coalition government.

This would work towards a policy of not appointing people on the basis of friendship.

"Labour is determined to end the system whereby appointments to state boards are used as a form of political patronage and for rewarding friends and political insiders," it said in a statement.

The party also plans to cap the amount of allowable donations to political parties to be set at €2,500 and €1,000 for candidates. All aggregate sums above €1,500 for parties and €600 for individuals would be publicly disclosed.

And former ministers and senior civil servants would have to go through a cooling-off period after leaving office if they wanted to work as a lobbyist.

Irish Independent