Dáil debates

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions


12:25 pm

Photo of Leo VaradkarLeo Varadkar (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Dublin West, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

Anglo Irish Bank was not bailed out by a Fine Gael-led Government but by a Fianna Fáil-led Government. We did not give it any extra money; we did not give it a red cent. In fact, we liquidated it, or the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, as it was called at the time. At the end of the liquidation there was, unexpectedly, money left over, which now goes to the creditors, including the State. The State is getting €600 million which we will use to reduce the national debt. Ireland still has one of the highest national debts per head of capita of any country in the western world and it is appropriate that we pay down that debt in order that we will not be badly exposed if we run into trouble into the future and in order that we will never have to get back again to pay cuts or tax increases, as occurred during the recession.

I am aware of the results of the ballots by the INMO and the Psychiatric Nurses Association, PNA. Of course, the Government regrets the decision taken, but it represents the depth of feeling among nurses and midwives about their pay and conditions. We understand this and hear it and I have no doubt about their willingness to strike if it is not possible to come to an agreement before then. However, we have a pay deal, not just with nurses and midwives but with all public servants. That pay deal runs until 2020 and the Government will honour it. It provides for pay increases for all public servants in 2019 and, in some cases, multiple pay increases. There is an extra increase for those earning under €30,000, an extra increase in March for new entrants recruited after 2012, increments for most staff and pay restoration for those earning more than €40,000. Pay restoration for those earning under €40,000 has already occurred. This is well deserved because public servants across the country work extremely hard.

As the Deputy said, average nursing salaries in Ireland, including pay and allowances, are not €70,000. They are just over €50,000-----


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