Fianna Fáil Public Expenditure and Reform spokesperson Sean Fleming has dismissed comments from Michael Noonan in relation to Fianna Fail’s position on public sector pay following the conclusion of the Lansdowne Road Agreement in September 2018.

Sean Fleming commented “Michael Noonan addressed this issue himself on February 4th in an interview on the News at One when he stated that “2% on public pay after 2018 might be a reasonable assumption but no minister for Public Expenditure would put the figure in because he’s giving away a negotiating position and it would be the starting point rather than the finishing point.

“It is bizarre than Michael Noonan would not seek to criticise Fianna Fáil for not stating at this point by how much public sector will change in 2019. In fact his colleague Brendan Howlin fails to make any specific commitment on public sector pay. Labour’s manifesto states “We will negotiate a new public sector pay deal in 2018, in advance of the conclusion of the Lansdowne Road Agreement to deal with remaining unresolved issues arising from the FEMPI acts.”

Fianna Fáil’s position on public sector pay is clearly set out in our manifesto:

  • Fully implement the Lansdowne Road agreement.
  • Target future pay agreements on low to middle income earners.
  • Repeal the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Acts over the next two years and return to normal industrial relations mechanisms, in relation to setting pay and conditions.
  • Ensure that improvements in take home pay of public servants are in line with general wage improvements in the economy.

“Our total manifesto commitments are €8.36bn out of €8.6bn. We have fully accounted for items which are subject to policy decision by the government: pensions, working age welfare payments and child benefit. In addition we have made no commitments in relation to the potential additional €1.5bn from a change to the State’s budgetary target. There is scope for the actual fiscal space available to be increased by the positive impact from the tax and welfare changes we are proposing. By contrast Fine Gael have padded have padded out the available fiscal space with a series of dubious assumptions and half-baked measures including pushing some of the USC cost to 2022, a gross overestimate of potential yield from tax on cigarettes, a magical €250m from “tax compliance” measures, unspecified procurement “savings” of €200m and €100m extra dividends from commercial semi-states.

“It is entirely appropriate that public sector pay post 2019 would be subject to negotiation taking in to account the prevailing economic conditions at the time.

“It is a sign of the panic and desperation in Fine Gael ranks that they are now seeking to misrepresent not just their own position in relation to public sector pay but also that of the Fianna Fáil party,” concluded Sean Fleming.