Daniel McConnell: Sweeteners, concessions and side deals undermine new agreement
Croke Park II doesn't go far enough in cutting pay or delivering real reform
The deal is dead, long live the deal. In a tacit admission that the first controversial Croke Park deal had run its course, the Fine Gael/Labour Coalition made it known before Christmas that they would seek an additional €1bn in pay savings by 2015 if their fiscal targets were to be achieved.
Under pressure from his Fine Gael colleagues, Brendan Howlin and his officials brought into play cuts and freezes that were previously off the table and many thought would never be raised. He deserves some credit for at least doing that, albeit two years too late.
Billed as the most complex, difficult and intense agreement ever reached in Ireland, the new Croke Park deal includes cuts to pay for those earning over €65,000; freezes on incremental pay increases to those earning between €35,000 and €65,000; cuts to pensions both existing and future (including former failed office holders like Bertie Ahern, Brian Cowen and their cabinet colleagues); cuts to overtime, premium payments and further staff reductions.