Public hospital consultants have been offered contracts worth over €250,000 per year under new pay proposals from the government.
The Sláintecare contracts will be offered to consultants who do public work only.
The proposals were outlined by Minister for Health Simon Harris and Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe who said that restricting private practice was central to the reform of the pay agreements.
The salaries will start at €222,460 from the second quarter of next year, rising to €252,150 by July 2022.
Additionally, the contracts will be offered to new consultants only.
Current consultants will be offered the opportunity to switch to the new proposed contract but will also have the option to remain on their existing contract.
Minister Harris said the proposals marked "a landmark day for patients in Ireland".
He said: "Moving towards single-tier public hospital care will mean a fairer health service, a more sustainable and efficient hospital service, and shorter waiting times."
He said the government was committed to hiring 1,885 consultants between now and 2030 on public-only contracts.
Minister Harris said this would deliver better value for money and would "unlock the vision set out in Sláintecare", resulting in a net increase of 1,000 consultants by 2030.
Minister Donohoe commented: “This a generational opportunity to reform the way hospital care is delivered in Ireland.
"Requiring consultants to focus on public-only work is a significant reform and the increased rates of pay being announced reflect that.
"The De Buitléir Report on removing private practice from public hospitals, on which these measures are based, shows that the rates of pay that we are applying to the new Sláintecare contract compare very favourably in international terms.
He added: "Changes to how we manage and deliver public healthcare cannot achieve their full potential so long as senior healthcare decision-makers devote part of their time and focus to private business activities. That is why this reform is key."
IMO consultants' strike
Earlier today, the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced the plans in the Dáil which come in the wake of a vote by thousands of hospital consultants and doctors who are members of the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) in favour of industrial action in the New Year.
The IMO said in a statement following his comments that "negotiations with the IMO and not unilateral pronouncements in the Dáil" were needed to resolve the dispute
They said: "In the absence of such negotiations, our plans for industrial action in the New Year continue.
"Having caused this crisis by a failure to sit down with the IMO, it is ironic that the Taoiseach thinks he can solve it now by acting unilaterally again. He cannot.
They added: "He needs to sit down with the IMO and have the good sense to acknowledge the scale of the crisis facing us and demonstrate a real willingness to work with us on finding workable proposals to resolve it."
Proposals 'make a bad situation even worse'
Meanwhile, the Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) welcomed "the formal recognition by government of the consultant recruitment crisis" but warned that today's proposals "will create an annual funding hole of €650 million in cash-starved public hospitals".
Dr Donal O’Hanlon, IHCA President, said: “This proposal will wreak havoc on our public hospital services.
"The removal of €650 million each year in insurance income from public hospitals will create an extreme two tier system, a more underfunded public hospital system in contrast with a functioning well resourced private hospital sector.
“Today’s proposals will do nothing for public hospital patients; only make a bad situation even worse.
“Our hospitals need increased funding, not less. They need practical effective solutions and not flawed ideological policies.
He concluded: "The government needs to start working for patients, not playing politics with patients’ right to access care”.