Dáil Éireann - Volume 352 - 26 June, 1984

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Public Service Pay Agreement.

3. Mr. Mac Giolla asked the Minister for the Public Service if he is aware that the public service unions have dissociated themselves from his statements in the Dáil on 3 November 1983 that the 19 per cent pay increase awarded to judges, Ministers and Members of the Oireachtas was in accordance with the public service pay agreement; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for the Gaeltacht (Mr. O'Toole) (for the Minister for the Public Service): I have no information available to me which would substantiate the assertion made by the Deputy and, therefore, I am not in a position to make a statement about it.

Mr. Mac Giolla: It is unfortunate that the Minister for the Public Service is not available here. Last autumn the Minister made a slashing attack on a leading member of the trade union, a member of [463] the Public Services Committee, who was present at the negotiations of the Public Services Committee. Is the Minister aware that at a meeting three weeks later, on 22 November, the Public Services Committee dissociated themselves from the remarks of the Minister for the Public Service and issued a public statement to this effect in regard to discussions here regarding the 19 per cent payments to Oireachtas Members, judges and Ministers.

Mr. O'Toole: The public statement by the ICTU was issued to clarify the position and to point out that the 19 per cent mentioned did not apply to public service personnel generally. They were concerned lest the public should think they were in receipt of this increase and they pointed out that the increase applicable to public servants was 5 per cent under the last agreement and 4.75 per cent under the current agreement. The press statement by the ICTU was purely to clarify the position in respect of public service unions.

Mr. Mac Giolla: When I asked the question first the Minister in a brief answer said he had no such information but now after pursuing the matter the Minister has said he is aware of the public statement. I am simply asking if he agrees that in the public statement the public service unions dissociated themselves from the statements in the Dáil of the Minister for the Public Service.

Mr. O'Toole: They did not dissociate themselves from the statement and I will quote the relevant passage from the press statement:

The Committee has noted that press reports suggest that the Government have based these increases on developments in the public service pay.

Therefore, at no time did they expressly dissociate themselves from the Minister's statement: they just sent out this press release to clarify their position vis-à-vis the 19 per cent.

[464] Mr. Mac Giolla: The Minister's quotation is precisely the point I am making. The Minister said that payments here were based on the public service pay agreement and they said that they were not. They dissociated themselves from it and that makes it clear that what the Minister for the Public Service said here last autumn was a false accusation against a leading trade unionist——

An Ceann Comhairle: We cannot have argument at Question Time.

Mr. O'Toole: I do not accept what the Deputy said, as it is totally without foundation.