TAOISEACH ENDA KENNY has told the Dáil that the Budget will not be “drafted in public” as he faced questions over various comments from cabinet ministers in recent days about the issue.
Responding to comments from a number of senior ministers in relation to potential changes to income tax and the Croke Park Agreement, Kenny sought to draw a line under the matter by saying that deliberations over December’s Budget will take place at cabinet level.
Earlier, RTÉ reported that Ministers had been instructed at this morning’s cabinet meeting to refrain from public comment on sensitive budget matters.
In response to a question from Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin over whether or not the Croke Park Agreement on public sector pay and reform would be honoured, Kenny said that he would meet with the independent implementation body and the Ministers for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform “as part of their analysis of their approach and preparation for the Budget”.
Later, in response to a question from Independent TD Shane Ross over increments being paid to those earning six-figure sums in the public sector, Kenny said “those at the very top do not get increments” as far as he was aware, adding that he would raise the issue with the implementation body.
“As I said Deputy Ross the Croke Park Agreement is with us until 2013,” he said, later adding: “I intend to meet with public service unions myself along with the Minister in regard to Croke Park.”
As the government earlier announced details of the Personal Insolvency Bill that will be published in full on Friday, Kenny was accused of rushing the announcement following a “burst of incoherence” according to Martin who said that questions about the bill’s details could not be answered.
But the Taoiseach said: “The details and the range of that bill will be published in full and a full presentation given by three ministers on Friday where the detail – all of it – will be made available.
“It’s not a case of not wishing to respond here, it’s a case of having the full bill and all of this presentation done together.”
Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams challenged the Taoiseach on the repayment of a number of bank bonds this week and asked the Fine Gael leader to provide assurances that these would not be paid.
Kenny said that such a move would be a “disaster and a catastrophe”, adding: “This country has always paid its way”.