Fianna Fáil Public Expenditure Spokesperson Sean Fleming TD has warned the Government to resist its urge to oversell the proposals emerging from the talks to update the Croke Park deal.
He also questioned why there is no focus on maintaining public service quality in the agreement and called on Minister Brendan Howlin to explain why he failed to engage directly in the talks to prevent the departure of nursing and Garda unions.
Deputy Fleming commented, “So often with this Government, the first priority is the headline, with the substance of the announcement frequently failing to live up to the PR. Minister Howlin must resist the urge to follow the same path in the case of these negotiations.
“Already, the Minister has appeared on a string of media outlets welcoming a deal that he has described as fair and balanced. He needs to explain why he did not intervene directly to try to prevent the departure of a number of unions from the talks process. He is arguing now that the proposals he has agreed are fair – where was he when that case should have been made to Gardai and nurses?
He continued, “The original Croke Park Agreement was about public sector pay, but it was also about reform and protecting the future of public services. It is striking that in all of the material released to date, there is no mention of the effect of the proposals on frontline and public services.
“Fianna Fáil supports the need to find extra savings from the public sector, but the test that we have insisted on throughout the process is, ‘is it fair’?
“We will carefully examine the documents that have been published and will be coming forward with a series of detailed questions on the implications of what is being proposed over the coming days.”