Howlin on Croke Park
THE minister has come under significant pressure, from within the Coalition and beyond, to end the Croke Park deal, which guarantees there will be no pay cuts or compulsory redundancies until 2014.
Opponents to it say it is no longer sustainable at a time of national bankruptcy.
Mr Howlin remains committed to it, saying that without Croke Park all of the co-operation currently being offered up by workers and unions would immediately cease.
"Croke Park is nothing more than a pact. The reform agenda, which is critical, is an enormous opportunity to do things differently; to change things that were unchangeable for decades.
"Objectively, Croke Park is working. The first review indicated that payroll savings and flexibilities are being achieved.
"We demanded there be a more assertive reform agenda this year. There are sectoral plans drawn up to bring change. I am confident we can get those reforms.
"But if there is resistance to change -- all these things like overtime, premium pay, sick pay, all these things -- I expect people not to resist these.
"If they are resisted, then we will deal with them at that stage.
"If the deal is not working, I will go to Government and tell them it is not working, and recommend it is over."