Howlin: FG TDs were 'completely and absolutely wrong' on Croke Park deal

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin has today called on the eight Fine Gael TDs who criticised the performance of the Croke Park deal in

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an Irish Examiner article yesterday to withdraw their comments.

TDs Sean Conlan, Paul Connaughton, Pat Deering, Brendan Griffin, Noel Harrington, Sean Kyne, Anthony Lawlor and Eoghan Murphy questioned how savings are calculated under Croke Park.

The TDs stated: "If we cannot rely on the numbers that are coming back to us from the public sector, how can we have confidence in the agreement and what it says it is delivering?"

Minister Howlin said today that the Deputies were wrong in their assessment of the savings made under the deal.

The TDs have also been criticised by the Taoiseach for not using the parliamentary party process to raise concerns.

Minister Howlin said that he can only assume that some people have an agenda in these matters.

"They were just completely and absolutely wrong and I expect them to, now that the facts have been presented to them, to withdraw that," he said.

"The Croke Park Agreement is a fundamental enabler of radical change.

"There are things that are progressing at different speeds, but people have to analyse it objectively and properly."

An accountancy firm that conducted a review of the savings being made under the Croke Park Agreement is standing by its finding that the deal is achieving its goals.

Grant Thornton examined four areas in the public service and reported back to the Government in May that all were achieving verifiable savings.

The company has moved to reiterate the outcome of its audit in the wake of media reports that the savings made under Croke Park are being overstated.

In a statement, Grant Thornton said it remains confident that it delivered an independent and robust piece of analysis to the government, and it stands by its audit.

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