Public sector pay cuts 'a possibility'
Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the Government reserved the right to legislate for reductions in public sector pay if agreement on a proposed extension to the Croke Park agreement cannot be reached.
Mr Kenny said he hoped extra savings of €1 billion could be agreed by consent where possible. The savings were necessary to protect frontline services, he said.
“We’ve made it perfectly clear that Government have the right to legislate for changes that we need to achieve these savings,” he said.
Asked if there would be pay cuts in the event of failure to agree, Mr Kenny said: “Government of course reserve the right to legislate for reductions in pay if agreement can’t be reached.”
He was speaking during a television interview with Sean O’Rourke on the new-look The Week In Politics Programme on RTÉ this afternoon.
Mr Kenny said he wants the promissory note restructured so it is effectively changed from a “serious overdraft to a long-term low interest mortgage”.
Mr Kenny said the Government was negotiating the “patently unfair” situation with the ECB to bring about a restructuring and re-engineering of what was owed.
“What we want to do is to restructure these promissory notes so that the €3.1 billion which has to be paid every year until 2023 and beyond at lesser amounts, that we don’t have to deal with that”.
The Taoiseach said he hoped that by the end of March an agreement would be in place that would not require Ireland to pay €3.1 billion.
He said the situation was complex and very detailed and those who said it could be sorted out very easily were being hypocritical.
Mr Kenny said he accepted the level of unemployment was much too high, including the levels of youth and long-term unemployment.
He said he did not accept that the property tax was unfair: people who had more would pay more.