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Oireachtas screen grab
Leaders' Questions

Taoiseach says Croke Park proposals do not target frontline workers

The Taoiseach tells the Dáil it’s not just Gardaí who are being asked to make a contribution to economic recovery.

TAOISEACH ENDA KENNY has said the proposed ‘Croke Park 2′ pay deal does not specifically target frontline public workers in efforts to cut back on the public pay bill.

Kenny told the Dáil that the deal, though widely rejected by Gardaí, asked public servants of all types – including teachers and engineers working for local councils – to make contributions.

Kenny was responding to queries from Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, and the technical group’s Mattie McGrath, who said the proposed cuts to Gardaí – who McGrath pointed out were never part of the pay talks – meant morale in the force had never been lower.

In a session conducted entirely through Irish, to mark Seachtain na Gaeilge, Martin said Gardaí were particularly dissatisfied that prison officers and firefighters had been given an opportunity to arrange ‘side deals’ to retain Sunday premia and similar payments.

Kenny said Gardaí had sacrificed their chances of constructing a similar arrangement because their associations had stopped attending the talks, unlike those of prison wardens and firefighters.

McGrath said the Croke Park proposals were not equitable across both high and low earners, saying frontline staff who relied on extra premia were taking cuts to their pay proportionate to the across-the-board cuts being levied on higher earners.

Martin urged the Taoiseach to ask the public expenditure minister, Brendan Howlin, to meet with Garda representatives to discuss their grievances.

Separately, Gerry Adams criticised the government for failing to make concrete progress in the dispute with turf-cutters, who have been directed to stop cutting turf on certain bogland under the terms of an EU directive.

He said while every party in the Dáil had agreed to a motion calling for a compromise with the turf-cutters last year, no further progress had been made.

Kenny said the arts minister, Jimmy Deenihan, had set aside a compensation fund for turf-cutters which had not yet been totally drawn down.

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