Pay restoration "must be done in a timeline the country can afford": Simon Coveney

SIPTU has agreed to give Ministers another two weeks to set a date for public salary negotiations

Pay restoration "must be done in a timeline the country can afford": Simon Coveney

Simon Coveney speaks to the media in Dublin 07/04/2016. Image: Brian Lawless PA Archive/PA Images

Minister for Housing Simon Coveney said the government is committed to public pay restoration, but that it "must be done in a timeline the country can afford".

Pressure is building since the recent deal negotiated with Gardaí. Trade union SIPTU has agreed to give Ministers another two weeks to set a date for public salary negotiations, or it will ballot its 60,000 members on industrial action. Pressure is building since the recent deal negotiated with Gardaí - 

Speaking on The Sunday Show, Mr Coveney said any change to the Lansdowne Road Agreement could jeopardise vital services.

"If we start to negotiate deals that mean that we have to spend a lot more in areas that have not been budgeted for it, that undemined a capacity to solve a housing crisis," he said.

He added that changes would also threaten Minister for Health Simon Harris' department.

"You have people at the moment talking about spending and spending and spending on the back of an economy because of policies that are sensible ... That's the context in which the government has to approach talks about public pay restoration."

SIPTU President Jack O'Connor said the government should look at adjusting the Lansdowne Road Agreement earlier this week.

He says the economic situation has changed since the deal was struck last year.

"We have had the precedent in the past - when circumstances either deteriorated or improved beyond the level that could be reasonably expected at the time the agreement was negotiated - that there would be some adjustment to it," he explained on Newstalk Breakfast.