Sunday 17 December 2017

'Clear the air' talks are in everyone's interest

Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe. Photo: Arthur Carron
Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe. Photo: Arthur Carron

There are many definitions of reality but one of them is "that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." This is a version with which the Fiscal Advisory Council would appear to concur.

The State watchdog tasked with making sure that our budgetary architecture is sound has cautioned that we simply cannot afford big public pay claims. With the refreshing candour with which it has become synonymous, it stressed that services would either need to be cut, or taxes raised, to satisfy wage demands.

Yesterday, Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe announced a two-phased process for pay talks. He also sought to discuss with unions the "anomalies" arising from the Garda recommendation. But, crucially, the Government will stick to its original time-frame of commencing talks on a successor to Lansdowne Road in early summer.

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