Allowances subsumed into pay, says Howlin

Thu, Oct 11, 2012, 01:00

ABOLISHING ALL public sector allowances would have taken €4,000 out of the pocket of every garda and thousands of euro from teachers and firefighters, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin said.

He added that under the pay regime, built up over decades, allowances were subsumed into core pay across swathes of the public service to meet sectoral agreements at different times.

“Relativities, in terms of people in different categories of employment, were part of the pay structure. It is an extraordinarily complicated task to disaggregate that system.”

Now that the Government had seen the picture, he added, it had set about eliminating unjustified allowances by using the Croke Park agreement to buy them out, except those which were such important parts of core pay.

Mr Howlin said his department had written to sectoral managers instructing them to immediately engage with staff interests with a view to securing their early agreement to the elimination of allowances to current incumbents where no business case existed to pay them to new beneficiaries.

Mr Howlin said the initial savings target of €75 million this year had not been included in the budgetary provision.

Mary Lou McDonald (SF) accused the Minister of making “a dog’s ear” of the matter.

“He backed away from his own estimate of €75 million but, worse, he deliberately targeted new entrants, just as he did in respect of the new pension regime for the public sector.”