Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe has said Lansdowne Road Agreement is the 'only show in town'
The economy is right for the earlier restoration of public service pay, according to the head of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO).
Liam Doran's comments come after the Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe expressed a fresh commitment to the Lansdowne Road Agreement, which is due to remain in place until 2018.
In an interview with the Irish Independent, Minister Donohoe said the agreement is the 'only show in town'.
He told the paper: "Lansdowne allows us to work with unions and have consultation about matters that their members care about, but alongside that there are figures in Lansdowne Road which relate to pay changes of €844m across the three-year tenure of it. That's what the figures are".
He added that: "The message I'd like to give [public sector workers and unions] that we want to work with them, but we have to work inside Lansdowne Road".
However, the INMO says anyone taken on during the recession should be brought up to the same pay level as their colleagues.
General Secretary Liam Doran says public servants were 'attacked' as a result of the recession.
"The Lansdowne Road Agreement was framed at a certain time, only 18 months ago," Mr Doran told Newstalk Breakfast.
"It was the Minister for Finance who said that the emergency is over as part of the election material. If the emergency is over, then I think the public servants who were attacked during the emergency are reasonably entitled to seek earlier restoration," he explained.
He said that nobody in the union side is expecting total restoration immediately, but added the 'economy is right' for earlier restoration than under the Lansdowne Road deal.
"I would be saying to the Minister, 'if you look more closely at the situation, we have a real recruitment and retention problem in nursing and midwifery in this country'," he added.