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Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe may well have found the money for the latest pay rise for public servants down the back of a sofa.

The murky world of the State finances was as clear as mud again this week when he was asked where he would get money to give State workers a wage boost. A €1,000 sweetener will push up wages in April instead of September to make up for the handout given to gardaí before Christmas.

Mr Donohoe has already ring-fenced €290m for pay rises already due under the Lansdowne Road agreement, on top of €267m last year and €287m next year. The minister said savings and efficiencies of €168m were found last year without cutting services, before adding: "That's what I intend to do for 2017."

It is just a few months since we got another ambiguous explanation for a last-minute €50m pay deal for gardaí.

The cost of this will be divided between an extra €25m allocation to the Department of Justice though savings made in a review and the same amount through unspecified savings found within its own budget.

Irish Independent