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SIPTU and council lock horns over Croke Park agreement

A WAR of words has erupted between a senior union leader and a county manager over whether the Croke Park deal is working.

SIPTU general president Jack O'Connor leapt to the defence of the agreement after Owen Keegan, the Dun Laoghaire Rathdown county manager, described progress as "very disappointing" and "frustrating".

Mr Keegan gave a long list of reforms where little or no headway had been made.

"I think the experience with Croke Park has been very disappointing," he said.

He said that the council was unable to achieve a small increase in the working hours for staff who did less than 34 hours a week, and was unable to cut "uncompetitive" premium pay rates.

"It has been quite frustrating," he said. "I'd like greater flexibility . . . Croke Park means everybody moves at the same pace."

But Mr O'Connor said he was "taken aback" by Mr Keegan's comments. He said the Croke Park agreement had the potential to allow the country "to do things with the smallest public service in any developed country in Europe".

The union leader said senior managers on high wages were pointing the finger at others, including the trade union movement, as an excuse for their failure to manage.

Irish Independent