Public Affairs Ireland | Training and Development | Conferences

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:  it would be in the interests of the country if we had a second Croke Park agreement”.

These statements come after indications made by senior government figures that any future deal may seek to water down the protections on pay and conditions set out in the original Croke Park agreement.

Proposals to cut some of the €1.5bn worth of allowances paid to public servants, which are due to be discussed at the first Cabinet meeting next week, are likely to encourage further debate by bringing the terms of the Croke Park Agreement into sharp focus. These proposals, brought forward by Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin, have already sparked controversy as they will  apply to new entrants only and not to those currently protected under the Croke Park Agreement.

With IBEC, Union leaders and the Labour Relations Commission also joining the debate in recent days, it is clear that the future of the Croke Park Agreement remains a long way from decided.  

Public Affairs Ireland is holding a conference on the future of HR in the public sector on Thursday, September 27, 2012. Among other things, the conference will discuss the performance of the Croke Park Agreement to-date and its future prospects. For more information, please click here.