Minister Howlin publishes Bill to give effect to the provisions of the Lansdowne Road Agreement

Issued 9 October 2015

Brendan Howlin, T.D., Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, today (09 October 2015) announced that he has published the Bill to give effect to the provisions of the Lansdowne Road Agreement. The Bill will amend the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (FEMPI) legislation, which has underpinned the various public service pay and pensions reductions since 2009. 

The Minister praised the role of public servants in maintaining delivery of public services through the years of crisis in an atmosphere of industrial peace. 

The Minister said:

As the extreme fiscal crisis starts to abate, it is equitable that the nearly half million public service employees and pensioners who have made significant financial sacrifices in that time should also begin to share in the ongoing recovery”.

However, the Minister stressed that the Agreement was not only about restoration of pay, but also about securing the enhanced efficiencies and performance delivered by the earlier Haddington Road and Croke Park Agreements.

The Minister also said:

The ongoing public service reform programme, which is underpinned by the Lansdowne Road Agreement, will ensure that efficient and effective public services remain an integral part of our future.”  

The Minister noted that the phased and careful restoration of remuneration to public servants, focussing on the lower-paid, illustrates the prudent approach of this Government in managing the ongoing improvements in public finances.

In addition, the Bill will amend the Courts (Supplemental Provisions) Act 1961 to regularise the position with regard to the arrangements for remuneration of members of the Judiciary, whose pay was also reduced in 2012. The Act will provide that persons newly appointed to the bench are not restricted from achieving pay parity with existing judges. This is the equivalent of the arrangements made for other newly appointed public servants, for whom arrangements were made to achieve pay parity in accordance with the Haddington Road Agreement.

Note to Editors

The Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Acts 2009 – 2013 comprise five pieces of primary legislation under which cuts in gross rates of pay and pension, and a pension related deduction, were applied to the income of serving and former public servants to assist in the process of reductions in public expenditure. The legislation enables annual savings of up to 20% in the public service pay and pensions bill. 

Details of the specific measures which acted to reduce public service pay and pensions, and of the measures proposed to apply to serving and former public servants under this Bill, are available on the Department’s website, www.per.gov.ie/en/public-service-pay-policy/

 The total additional cost arising in 2016 from the Lansdowne Road and Haddington Road Agreements is €297 million. This should be compared to public service pay and pension bill savings of €2.2 billion annually, achieved as a direct result of pay and pension reductions, and other deductions under the FEMPI legislation.

The Minister is required under the Acts to present an annual review (by 30 June each year) of the legislation to the Houses of the Oireachtas. When passed, the 2015 legislation will also form part of the terms of this review.

 

ENDS