Howlin wants 'more change' from public service sector15/01/2013 - 09:46:59
The Minister for Expenditure and Public Sector Reform Brendan Howlin has admitted it will not be easy to reach an agreement in the talks on an extension to the Croke Park agreement.
Mr Howlin is leading the talks with unions set to begin this afternoon.
Yesterday, union leaders expressed their anger over what they described as the Government's "draconian" proposals - with some expressing concern that the talks will break down at an early stage.
Speaking on his way into Government Buildings this morning, Minister Howlin said today's meetings will focus on a timeframe for talks - which he said is tight because the savings have to be made this year.
Mr Howlin said: "We now want more change, more flexibility so that our public services are sustainable well into the future.
"I believe our public services and their representatives are up for that, but it won’t be an easy task to drill down the content and get to the detail in a limited time-frame."
Meanwhile, the Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has said he is not surprised there is disagreement between unions and the Government.
Mr Gilmore said nobody can predict how long the talks will take or where the agreement will end up.
He said: "I think the important thing is that the talks proceed and try to reach an agreement by the end of the discussions.
"I don’t think it is surprising that you are seeing disagreement at the start of such discussions, that is what the talks will be about, trying to reach agreement."
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