Croke Park 'to be fully implemented'

 

The Government is determined to implement the Croke Park agreement in full, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said this morning.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio’s Morning Ireland programme, Mr Kenny said the Croke Park deal had already delivered substantial reductions in public servant numbers and pay, but more would need to be done to avoid cuts to frontline services.

Ministers are examining the work structures, practices and rosters in their departments to ensure efficiency in advance of December’s budget, and frontline services will be prioritised, he added.

Mr Kenny said he and Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin have had “very good discussions” with the implementation group, which includes public service managers and trade unions.

“I intend to work the deal through as quickly as possible,” Mr Kenny said.

“In the course of those discussions we [will] examine what are the best opportunities to get the most from the entire public service here, in so far as the delivery of services is concerned, and not have to impact unduly on people who have to avail of those necessary services.”

Several senior ministers have made conflicting statements in recent days over whether or not the agreement could remain unchanged until it concludes at the end of 2013, but the Taoiseach said Government was united in its aim to provide jobs and restore the economy.

“There is a complete focus from the Fine Gael party and the Labour Party to see this term of government through to its finality, not to turn our backs on the mandate given to us by the people, and make difficult choices,” he said.

Fine Gael TDs and senators have gathered in Westport, Co Mayo this morning for day two of the Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting.

The Labour Party will begin their parliamentary party seminar in Carton House in Co Kildare later today.

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