Haddington Road agreement will save €1 billion by 2015, Howlin says

Minister says Government’s objective was to maintain Croke Park II deal’s productivity elements and achieve targeted savings in pay and pensions

The Haddington Road agreement would save €300 million this year and €1 billion by 2015, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin told the Dáil.

Replying to Opposition questions, he said for that reason it would not be necessary to amend the published estimates.

“I hope that is clear,” he added.

Mr Howlin said a report last week had shown that pensioners were the group that had suffered the least impact to date. While that was a good thing, it was reasonable that people on pensions of more than €32,500, a small number, would make a proportionate contribution to the deal, which was 2 per cent.


Top end of scale
At the top end of the scale, said Mr Howlin, he was asking those on pensions of more than €100,000 to make a 28 per cent contribution.

“I do not believe there will be a clamour against that on the other side of the House,” he added.

Mr Howlin said the substantive change between the Croke Park II and Haddington Road agreements was that a number of unions that did not engage in the first round of discussions engaged and tabled suggestions.

He had made it clear, he said, that the Government’s objective was to maintain the deal’s productivity elements and to achieve the targeted savings in pay and pensions.

“I was open to a variety of ways of doing it,” he added. “More imaginative ways of doing it were tabled and costed.”

Mr Howlin said he hoped there would an agreement but he could not assume there would be. A balloting and validation process was required.

He said the Government was conscious of the significant contributions made to the State’s recovery by public servants.

“They are a necessary further contribution to the fiscal consolidation process required to restore our economic sovereignty and bring our current expenditure deficit under control,” he added.

Michael O'Regan

Michael O'Regan

Michael O’Regan is a former parliamentary correspondent of The Irish Times