Top public servants urged to forgo rises
Labour Party Minister of State Kathleen Lynch has called on higher-paid public servants to forgo increments allowed under the Croke Park agreement to prevent front-line disability services being cut.
Ms Lynch, who has responsibility for disability, equality and mental health, said she was making a “plea” for the voluntary relinquishing of increments by some higher-paid public servants in an interview with The Irish Times.
“I have a difficulty in terms of the disability sector . . . If there was one plea I had to make . . . I’m making it to people a bit up the scale.
“If they forgo those increments . . . we probably could manage the service a lot better. But if they don’t and if the type of changes we need to make can’t be made in the next year or two . . . then most definitely front-line services will be hit.”
Ms Lynch also called for a voluntary examination of pay scales by those on the highest salaries.
She said the terms of the Croke Park agreement prevented her from intervening, but that those in receipt of higher salaries and increments had the ability to waive them.
“Under Croke Park we won’t be able to do it. I can’t say don’t pay the increments because under Croke Park they are an entitlement and I can’t say ‘don’t give your CEOs and your managers pay increases’, because under Croke Park they’re entitled to them.”
She said she had no choice but to wait until the Croke Park agreement concluded. “But I think maybe sometimes we should appeal to people’s better nature . . . they’re choices that they can make.”
Fine Gael and Labour TDs have clashed repeatedly over the issue of increments. A group of eight Fine Gael TDs said last month that increments would add €170 million to next year’s pay bill and should be revisited. Labour has maintained they should be honoured under the deal.
Meanwhile, Ms Lynch spoke about her strong backing of Fine Gael Minister for Health James Reilly in the Dáil, prior to her party colleague Róisín Shortall’s resignation as minister of state for primary care. “It wasn’t a robust defence of Dr Reilly; it was a robust defence of the Government.”