Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Public Expenditure and Reform Sean Fleming has said the targets announced by Minister Brendan Howlin for the savings to be achieved under the Haddington Road Public Service Agreement are bogus.
Deputy Fleming said: “The Minister has consistently refused to give an exact breakdown of where the savings were to be achieved. We now know why. The targets were always unrealistic and this has now been proved to be the case.”
Today it was revealed that in relation to the Garda budget, Haddington Road savings were 40% below target in 2013 and are expected to be 45% below target this year.
Deputy Fleming said: “While reviewing the Garda budget with the management of the force at the Public Accounts Committee this morning I was told that the target for savings to be achieved in 2013 under the Haddington Road Agreement was €15m but only €9m was achieved, 40% less than expected. Similarly the target for 2014 is €29m and management expect only €16m to be achieved this year. This would be 45% off target. It’s clear that there are serious flaws in the targets set down in the Haddington Road Agreement.
“Minister Brendan Howlin regularly refuses to give an exact breakdown as to how savings would be achieved under the Haddington Road Agreement. If the trend that we have uncovered in the Gardai is being replicated across our public service, the Government is hiding a major financial problem.
“It’s clear from this morning’s meeting that Senior Garda management are concerned about the projected shortfall this year and what impact there would be on the force if they’re forced to bridge the gap with cuts to other areas.
“I am calling on Minister Howlin to set out clearly what savings can and will be achieved under the Haddington Road Agreement. It’s clear that the targets he set out initially were wildly unachievable and we need a more realistic assessment to properly plan for the budget ahead.”