Monday 23 October 2017

Vital services to suffer in €50m Garda buy-off

Minister warns deal will impact on spending plans

Taoiseach Enda Kenny Picture: PA
Taoiseach Enda Kenny Picture: PA

Anne Marie Walsh and Niall O'Connor

The Government was forced to push back against public sector pay claims after gardaí were offered a package worth €3,600 each to call off their strike.

The €50m buy-off will now have to be paid for by the taxpayer. But the Coalition faces the threat of further industrial unrest after unions demanded fast-tracked pay rises.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny sought to defend the Lansdowne Road Agreement pay pact. He warned there is not an "endless pot of money".

Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe told the Irish Independent the Garda deal would impact on next year's public finances and services.

"This Labour Court arbiration will have consequences for spending plans for next year. There is no endless supply of money to deal with this," the minister said.

And a senior Government source admitted the Coalition was extremely surprised by the scale of the garda pay recommendations, pointing out it went well beyond what was on offer. There is deep concern in Government the Garda deal will prompt further unrest.

"There is now the worry of a domino effect. This will have huge implications. It has created serious problems for the Government," the source said.

Secondary school teachers will test the Government's mettle next week with an escalation of their pay dispute.

Irish Independent

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