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Croke Park talks needed in 'six to eight months if not sooner' - Varadkar

Transport Minister Leo Varadkar has said that negotiations over the extension or renegotiation of the Croke Park Agreement will be needed within the “next six to eight months if not sooner”.

Leo Varadkar
Leo Varadkar
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

TRANSPORT MINISTER LEO Varadkar has said that negotiations over either extending the Croke Park Agreement or formulating a new deal on public sector pay and work practices will be needed in the next ‘six to eight months if not sooner’.

The agreement on public sector pay being maintained in return for changes  in working practices in the public service runs until 2014 but has come under increasing scrutiny in recent months amid calls for the issue of pay to be tackled by the government.

Last week Health Minister James Reilly indicated that the deal may need to re-examined because of the budget over run in the health service.

In today’s Sunday Independent, Education Minister Ruairí Quinn is quoted as saying “everything” should be on the table in any negotiations.

Varadkar told RTÉ’s This Week that the position of the government was that the current deal runs until 2014 and the government is bound by it.

But he said that negotiations on extending it or formulating a successor to the agreement will be needed to get underway within months.

“We can talk about renegotiating it before it expires,” he told RTÉ Radio.

“The current agreement stands and stands until 2014 but obviously if we’re going to negotiate an extension to the agreement that has to start before 2014.

“It probably has to start in the next six to eight months if not sooner.”

Varadkar said that it was important that any deal which succeeds the Croke Park Agreement is not the “same old Croke Park” and said we need to talk about “other things”.

He continued: “What is very important to me, is that if we do have an extension of Croke Park or a successor agreement to Croke Park that it’s not just the same old Croke Park deal.

“We need to be able to talk about other things and Ruairí Quinn said that everything should be on the table.”

Read: Reilly indicates renegotiation of Croke Park Agreement may be needed

Read: Everything you need to know about the Croke Park Agreement

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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