Gilmore refuses to be drawn on allowance cut savings

Tánaiste Eamonn Gilmore has today refused to say how much will be saved by cutting allowances for current public sector workers.

Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin announced last night that that 88 would be scrapped for serving staff, after previously announcing that only one allowance would be withdrawn.

Fianna Fáil said that one of the allowances will save a total of just €2,500, while another will deliver less than €20,000.

Despite repeated questioning in the Dáil, Eamon Gilmore would only say the public service pay bill has been reduced already by €3.1bn. He went on to blame Fianna Fáil for putting the allowances in place.

"Throughout that 14 years, your style of dealing and your then-leader's style of dealing with the issue of pay in the public service was every time there was a problem, you invited them in, gave them a wink, talked about public service reform and wrote the cheque," he said.

"And that's why we've ended up with a large number of allowances which now have to be disaggregated."

Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar said earlier that the Government's decision to scrap 88 public sector allowances will be an ''interesting test'' of the Croke Park Agreement.

SIPTU is warning the Government against the move, saying that allowances form part of core pay, which is protected under the Croke Park deal.

"We will have to do it within the terms of the agreement, so it will be a good test of the Croke Park process as to whether we can do that," said Minister Varadkar.

"I imagine it will go through the Croke Park process and be fast-tracked to the Labour Court and it will be an interesting test of the capacity of the agreement to deliver the kind of reforms that we want."

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