Quinn warns against 'thinking out loud' on budget measures
27/06/2012 - 10:21:04
Education Minister Ruairi Quinn has said that "thinking out loud" on next year's budget is not helpful to anybody, despite his government's own chief whip appearing to do just that.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny yesterday warned ministers not to make any more public statements about the budget before it is considered by Cabinet.
It follows comments by Transport Minister Leo Varadkar who said public sector pay increments should be deferred, even though unions say they are protected under the Croke Park deal.
Minister Quinn said the Cabinet is more experienced than last year when it comes to the budget.
"We had some signs of this last year, when there (were) some rumours got into the space before the budget - there was going to be an increase in this, and a reduction in that - and it didn't materialise.
"I think what we need to do at a Cabinet level is to refect very carefully on the measures that have to be taken and the impact that those measures may have, and to mitigate that as much as possible.
"And to do all of that in the privacy of cabinet solidarity and cabinet confidentiality."
However even as Minister Quinn was reiterating the coalition's warning over loose lips, Government chief whip Paul Kehoe was adding his two cents to the furore over Minister Varadkar's Croke Park comments.
Speaking this morning, Deputy Kehoe said it was "frustrating" that high earners in the public service are awarded incremental pay increases under the Croke Park deal, at a time when public services are being cut, including in his own constituency.
"No I don't think it is acceptable," he said.
"I find it frustrating when I see other services being cut.
"Leo Varadkar did say it was a grey area."
However Deputy Kehoe added that he would be giving his opinion to Cabinet as part of the budget process.
"I'm going to wait until the minister and the Taoiseach comes back to Cabinet and tells us how the recommendation group are carrying out their work… and then I will have my opinion and give my opinion at the Cabinet."
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