Independent Alliance TD breaks ranks to call for early talks on public sector pay
Independent Alliance TD Kevin 'Boxer' Moran has broken ranks to become the first Government TD to call for early talks on public sector pay.
The Longford/Westmeath TD, who will become a minister next year, has told the Irish Independent: "The cards have to be put on the table. For eight long years people have suffered. This is not going to go away and the only way this can work is dialogue."
The move is likely to heighten pressure on Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe and cause tension within the Alliance, which collectively agreed to stick with the official Government line that the timelines attached to the Lansdowne Road Agreement cannot be changed.
"I believe myself it'll have to take place early next year," Mr Moran said.
"If we're honest with ourselves as politicians and look at all the unrest that's out there we have to start."
He criticised union leaders for "threatening" industrial action unless a start-date for pay talks are announced because "they understand that the money is not there".
"But likewise we can't have members of Government throwing back threats to them such as if we give in, other services will suffer," he said.
Mr Moran said the public know that negotiations will have to take place so "there's no use going to wire and then starting".
"I'm talking about private sector pay as well and community-voluntary.
"It's not just one sector we have to look at. We have to bring everybody together and the only way to do that is dialogue," he said.
However, Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar insisted that the Government must remain firm in their stance that the Lansdowne Road Agreement on pay restoration is sacrosanct.
"I don't think doctors or nurses want pay increases at the expense of services. I think the first thing they want us to do is not repeat the mistakes of the past.
"We don't want to lose control of public spending again."
Mr Varadkar added that tax reductions were the best way to share out the proceeds of the economic recovery to everybody.