With the Budget for 2013 on the horizon for December, talk has once again turned to the Croke Park Agreement which is due for review at the end of 2013.
People are questioning whether this deal, which has been praised and criticised in equal measure, should be left to expire in 2014, or renegotiated to form Croke Park II.
Under the current deal there will be no further pay cuts or compulsory redundancies before 2014 for public service staff in return for reform. However, with a difficult Budget expected in December, which will see further austerity measures put in place, the future of the Agreement remains uncertain.
Government Ministers remain divided in their opinion on the deal with some in clear favour of Croke Park II while others already anticipating the expiry of the original Agreement next year.
Among those in favour of renegotiating the deal are Minister for Trade, Joe Costello TD, Minister of State for Public Sector Reform, Brian Hayes TD, Minister for Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte TD and Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn TD.
In a press release issued yesterday Minister Costello described calls for the deal to be torn up as “short-sighted and irresponsible”, adding that the Croke Park Agreement was “the most successful social contract in the history of the State considering the enormous austerity measures contained therein”.
He also highlighted the success of the deal in its three objectives, namely “reducing numbers, restructuring and industrial peace”.
Another TD who spoke in support of the deal in recent days was Minister Hayes TD saying: “