Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 26 October 2014

Job cuts plan 'to cost 1bn euro'

Fine Gael enterprise spokesman Richard Bruton revealed plans to cut 30,000 public sector jobs
Fine Gael Leader Enda Kenny meets six-month-old May Hennelly outside Golden Island Shopping centre in Athlone

Fine Gael plans to spend a staggering one billion euro cutting 30,000 workers from the public sector payroll.

The party said it wants to protect vital front-line services provided by doctors, nurses, teachers, gardai and local authorities but that it will not enforce lay-offs.

Fine Gael said back office savings would allow it to hire about 2,500 new teachers, compared to last year's staffing levels, to maintain pupil-teacher ratios.

The party's enterprise spokesman Richard Bruton said it was about rewarding effort and innovation while penalising waste and inefficiency.

"The reality is quite stark: if we do not make savings in our public sector, then all staff will end up with their pay being hit or their taxes being hiked," Mr Bruton said.

"We simply cannot go on with the system the way it is. We believe we can save over five billion euro, or one euro in 10 spent by public bodies, by confronting waste, duplication and inefficiency."

However, the party admitted the back office redundancy plan would leave a new government footing a massive lay-off bill.

Party leader Enda Kenny said he did not want to be tied to a figure but said it was in the region of one billion, based on the cost of last year's redundancy programme in the Health Service Executive (HSE).

Fianna Fail claimed the price tag had exposed Fine Gael's "election gimmicks".

The proposal calls for 145 quangos, State bodies and companies to be abolished, the HSE to be dismantled and a third of all civil service staff to be cut.

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