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Majority of FG-Lab councillors want Croke Park deal changed - survey

A survey carried out by a Fine Gael senator finds that two-thirds of FG and Labour councillors would back amending the deal.

Image: Joe Giddens/EMPICS Sport

TWO-THIRDS of county and city councillors from Fine Gael and Labour are in favour of changing certain elements of the Croke Park pay deal, a new survey has found.

The survey of 529 councillors from across the country, carried out by FG senator Catherine Noone, also found that 56 per cent of councillors from Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and other parties would support a renegotiation of the deal.

The Croke Park deal, formally adopted in 2010, saw the government commit to maintaining staff numbers in the public payroll, with workers agreeing more flexible employment terms in exchange.

Noone said she was “not surprised” by the results, arguing that there was “an appetite for the deal to be reviewed, especially when it comes to higher earners”.

However, I think any talk of renegotiation should also take account of the major reforms already being undertaken by the Government.

An ambitious reform programme is being implemented, but as Minister of State Brian Hayes said last week, the speed of this reform must be accelerated if we are to achieve our aims.

The Croke Park deal – which was rejected by some public unions, but accepted by enough to be ratified – contains a clause which entitles the government to seek a negotiation of the deal if there is a major change in Ireland’s financial circumstances.

That clause could be activated by the government, given that it was agreed before Ireland was frozen out of bond markets and forced into an EU-IMF bailout.

Public expenditure minister Brendan Howlin expects to cut the public payroll by 23,500 staff by 2015, but believes that target can be reached by natural turnover rather than having to enforce layoffs.

Public sector reforms need ‘more urgency’ to succeed – Hayes

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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