Thursday, June 23 2022

There is a “good possibility” of reaching a new pay deal with public sector workers, Tánaiste Leo Varakdar told TD and Fine Gael senators.

Talks on a new deal broke down last week after unions rejected a government wage offer of a 5% pay rise over two years.

Earlier this week, Mr Varadkar suggested a ‘landing zone’ for a deal could involve a higher percentage wage increase for the lowest-paid workers, tax reform to benefit middle-income earners and “social wage” commitments.

Mr Varadkar told his party that civil servants deserved a pay rise.

He said history has shown that such talks have setbacks and can take time, but he is keen to reach an agreement with the unions to get through the period of high inflation.

Fine Gael are hosting a special parliamentary party meeting next week to discuss the upcoming budget, but there were inputs on the cost of living at Wednesday’s meeting.

Dún Laoghaire TD Jennifer Carroll MacNeill and Senator Mary Seery-Kearney have both reportedly raised the need for additional support for parents and child care providers. A childcare package is included in the budget.

Meeting participants welcomed Mr. Varadkar’s recent comments on the need for tax relief for middle-income earners.

Will the government take pre-budget action?

Mr Varadkar told the meeting that with the budget on the horizon, tax revenues are “very robust” and that more than 2.5 million people are employed and the number is growing across the country.

He said the government is ‘in a position to make changes to help people access services and ensure that work pays better’.

The party passed a motion calling on Fianna Fáil’s health minister, Stephen Donnelly, to sort out the problems at Limerick University Hospital, including plans to provide an elective hospital just for the Middle East region .

It comes after the Health Information and Quality Authority last week raised serious concerns about patient safety in hospital.

The motion was put forward by Clare TD Joe Carey who also requested that Mr Donnelly be invited to a future Fine Gael meeting to deal with questions about it.

No decision has been made on this.

Minister of State for Sport Jack Chambers told Fianna Fáil TDs and Parliamentary Party Senators that there would be a half-day meeting on Friday July 1 to discuss their budget priorities and the response to cost of living challenges.

The parliamentary party meeting heard a presentation by Senator Shane Cassells on Fianna Fáil’s communications strategy. He chairs a party committee on the issue set up to address shortcomings in the region, including its social media operations, identified by Minister of State Seán Fleming’s autopsy on Fianna Fáil’s poor election performance. General of 2020.

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