Paschal Donohoe insists pledge to 'keep recovery going' is not to blame for public sector pay claims

Minister Donohoe said it is an "extraordinary claim that an election slogan could perpetrate the kind of difficulties that we're facing"

Paschal Donohoe insists pledge to 'keep recovery going' is not to blame for public sector pay claims

Paschal Donohoe. Image: RollingNews.ie

Public Expenditure Minister Pascal Donohoe says Fine Gael's election promises are not to blame for public sector pay claims.

The party ran in last year's general election using the slogan 'keep the recovery going'.

With news of financial gains, hundreds of thousands of public sector workers have been seeking wage hikes.

Unions and opposition parties have been putting pressure on the Government to start negotiations on a new public sector pay deal, even though the Lansdowne Road Agreement has only been in force for around four months.

The demands follow the pay restoration deal reached with Garda associations that saw planned industrial action suspended.

Ministers have insisted that the Garda proposals - which members of the GRA and AGSI are being balloted on - are within the Lansdowne Road Agreement.

Members of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) are meeting today to discuss their next moves.

The private sector is now also likely to see increasing pay demands - with ICTU encouraging its affiliate unions to seek pay increases of 4% per person for 2017.

However, Minister Pascal Donohoe says it is not his party's fault.

Speaking to Jonathan Healy on the Pat Kenny Show, Minister Donohoe said: "I find it an extraordinary claim that an election slogan could perpetrate the kind of difficulties that we're facing.

"In the aftermath of the general election, I heard opposition critic after opposition critic talk about how ineffective that slogan was and how little effect it had on the public. Now we find ourselves in this situation - suddenly its the most potent election slogan of all time."

He insisted that "we have to be fair to everyone - we have to be fair to the self-employed, we have to be fair to people who don't work in our public services while acknowledging those who do."

Earlier today, former Tánaiste Joan Burton told Newstalk Breakfast that "[we should] have an economy that functions and does well by fairness - so that when people get a week's wages they're actually able to live on that".