Croke Park extension talks get underway today

Talks on the extension of the Croke Park agreement get underway today and are expected to continue into the weekend.

Among the proposals expected to be set out by the Government will be cuts to premium pay for nurses and other healthcare workers, and a longer working week.

It comes as the Minister for Justice Alan Shatter urges garda unions to return to the talks.

Discussions have been ongoing between trade union and Government representatives over the past few weeks, as they attempt to hammer out an agreement that would save an additional €1bn on the public sector pay bill.

Both sides will return to the table today for talks that are expected to last for the weekend.

The Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors and the Garda Representative Association have already refused to take part in the negotiations if cuts to pay are on the table.

Yesterday, the GRA passed a motion of no confidence in the Justice Minister Alan Shatter. In response, Minister Shatter said "spats" occur between Justice Ministers and Garda representatives from time to time.

He urged both sides to get on with their jobs, and said he "fully understands that this is a very

difficult time for every person in the State, including public servants, and no less for those who provide 24/7 services."

Regarding the motion of no confidence, Alan Shatter said: "This is not the first time, and it won’t be the last time, that we see something of this nature."

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