Thursday, 7 February 2019
Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions
The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs says something needs to shift. I put it to her that what needs to shift is that the Government needs to indicate – it can be done today, right here, right now – that it will enter into negotiations with the INMO on the basis of no preconditions. What the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Deputy Donohoe, and the Minister for Health, Deputy Harris, have said is that the Government will enter into talks, but not about pay. The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Deputy Richard Bruton, was on "Morning Ireland" this morning. He said, "I think we are prepared to talk about pay in the context of an agreement". Is that the position of Cabinet today or is it the position of the Minister for Health and the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform that pay cannot be discussed? We need something to shift but those in the Government have dug their heels in and do not want to talk about what is the core issue of this dispute.
Will the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs give clarity? This is Leaders' Questions and not oral questions. What is the situation of the Government at this point? Is the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment correct in his proclamation this morning in which he said the Government was willing to enter into talks to discuss pay in the context of an agreement? Is it the old position of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform and the Minister for Health in their press release that the Government will talk about everything bar pay?
This is a dispute in terms of two parties. I know which side I am on. I know which side the public is on. I believe the public believes the Government is being intransigent on the matter.