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Howlin's cost-cut bid is savaged

A "GOLDEN handshake" pay-off scheme for public servants has been savaged by critics after the Government failed to spell out exact details and implications.

Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin (below) briefed the Cabinet on the voluntary redundancy programme yesterday.

The Government was unable to answer questions including when it will open and close, how many public servants does Mr Howlin want to see go, how much will the pay-offs cost and what savings will be achieved.

A spokeswoman for Mr Howlin's department said: "Surpluses are being identified at the moment, so we don't have a target."

Fianna Fail public expenditure spokesman Sean Fleming expressed surprise that Mr Howlin had announced such a plan "with no costings, timeline or an impact assessment on services".