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Labour TDs criticise Fine Gael 'rants' about Croke Park deal

One Labour TD described the eight Fine Gael TDs as “belligerent”

Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

LABOUR TDS HAVE strongly criticised eight Fine Gael TDs for writing a newspaper article which criticised the Government’s position on the Croke Park deal.

One Labour backbencher described the criticisms as ‘rants’ while another said the Fine Gael TDs were attacking ordinary workers such as teachers, nurses, gardaí and civil servants.

The criticisms indicate tensions between the two government parties over the issue of public sector pay.

Labour TD for Louth Gerald Nash said the article in the Irish Examiner had been written by “a small coterie of Fine Gael TDs who are blinded by a narrow and ideologically motivated anti-public service agenda”.

In the article the eight TDs – Eoghan Murphy, Anthony Lawlor, Seán Kyne, Seán Conlan, Paul Connaghton, Pat Deering, Noel Harrington and Brendan Griffin - called for the government to stop increments and cut allowances for public sector workers.

Nash compared the eight Fine Gael TDs to members of the Bullingdon Club, the notorious secret society at Oxford University which counted British prime minister David Cameron and London mayor Boris Johnson among its former members.  He described the eight as being “unrepresentative and “in danger of becoming caricatures”:

This belligerent band of ‘Bullingdon Club’ TDs seems to be hell-bent on unravelling the public sector reform agenda irrespective of the consequences for Gardaí, teachers and nurses and the citizens who depend on good quality services.

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Galway West TD Derek Nolan said that Fine Gael TDs would “go to the wall to defend private education and farmers” but were happy to attack the living standards of ordinary public sector workers.

In a sign that the coalition partners will continue to try to keep a close lid on speculation in the run up to December’s budget, RTE.ie reports that Taoiseach Enda Kenny has told backbenchers to voice their concerns in parliamentary party meetings rather than in the media.

Read: Fine Gael TDs challenge Government stance on Croke Park >

Read: Troika have no issue with reported Croke Park savings – government >

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