Donohoe: Public pay proposals are "sensible and affordable"

He says the deal will give the State the ability "to fund everything else that we'll need to do"

Donohoe: Public pay proposals are "sensible and affordable"

Paschal Donohoe. Photograph: RollingNews.ie

The Minister for Expenditure and Reform says the proposed public pay agreement is a good deal that makes sense for the whole country.

Minister Paschal Donohoe has again urged unions to accept the extension to the Lansdowne Road agreement, saying it is a "sensible and affordable" programme.

The benefits to different income groups would range from 6.2% to 7.4% over three years, and would run from 2018 to 2020.

The agreement is expected to cost around €180m in its first year alone. According to SIPTU, it will see more than 90% of public servants out of FEMPI pay provisions by 2020.

While many unions have welcomed the proposals, a number of others - including the INTO and TUI - have said they will recommend that members reject the deal.

Balloting will take place in the weeks and months ahead, and the Minister is hopeful of getting the deal through.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, Minister Donohoe explained: "I'm hopeful, but it's a matter for those who will be balloting on it.

"I believe this is a fair programme. It offers a degree of affordable wage growth to those who participate in our public services, while still giving us the ability to fund everything else that we'll need to do - like what we need to do on public services, and making progress on putting public pensions on a more sustainable footing."

Despite the significant cost of the deal, he argued that it will not affect the Government's ability to make other major changes in areas such as tax reform.

He argued: "Over a three year period it offers a good plan in terms of how we want to manage wages for our entire economy, and it makes really big progress on dealing with the issue of how we fund public pensions in the future.

"I believe this is a sensible and affordable plan, which is why we're recommending it to the unions."