Government approach to pay talks repeat Celtic Tiger errors, Creighton claims

Simon Coveney insists mistakes of past will not be repeated

Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney insisted “the mistakes of the past aren’t going to be repeated”

Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney insisted “the mistakes of the past aren’t going to be repeated”


The Government is happy to repeat the mistakes of the Celtic Tiger in its approach to public sector pay and remuneration, Renua leader Lucinda Creighton has claimed.

In an attack on the Government’s policies, she said the forthcoming national economic dialogue was reminiscent of the social partnership approach Fianna Fáil led through the boom period “with the Coalition seeking to buy the votes of the trade unions through behind closed door pay discussions”.


Simon Coveney

They were speaking during the Dáil debate on the Government’s spring economic statement.

Ms Creighton said it was difficult to reconcile “boasts of productivity gains” in the public sector by Minister for Public Enterprise and Reform Brendan Howlin with “the Government’s resistance to the introduction of any performance management accountability in the public service”.

She said that by agreeing to restore public sector pay over coming years without achieving meaningful cultural and structural reforms within the public service “the Government is simply reverting to the failed policies of the past”.

And “after four years of continuity Fianna Fáil policies it is difficult, almost impossible, to believe this Government has any desire to take a new approach”, the former Fine Gael minister of state said.

Mr Coveney said: “All Mr Howlin has said he intends doing is to discuss with public sector unions how we can unwind over time some of the restrictions of the past while maintaining the focus on reform and change and better performance and modernisation of the public service.”

The Minister said there was quite a detailed discussion on the issue at Cabinet this week, and the Government recognised “the sacrifices and performance of the public sector in the last number of years in an effort to find a way forward in very difficult times”.

School-age care

James Reilly

The group is soliciting the views of childcare providers and policymakers as well as parents. The consultation process for parents closes on May 4th, and Dr Reilly appealed to parents to make their voices heard in the few days left.

“Parents are the experts in their own children. The consultation wouldn’t be complete without hearing their voices.”

Taoiseach Enda Kenny pledged to cut the 7 per cent rate of the universal social charge of those earning less than €70,000. He said that with this year’s budget in October 500,000 people would no longer be subject to the charge.