I propose to take Questions Nos. 13 and 36 together.
As the House is aware I am obliged under legislation to:
1. review the operation and effectiveness of the FEMPI legislation, having regard to the overall economic conditions in the State and national competitiveness; and
2. consider whether the relevant Acts continue to be necessary, having regard to amongst other things the revenues of the State.
My review for 2018 was submitted to the Oireachtas last Friday the 29th June in accordance with the legislation.
The Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Acts have been a cornerstone of fiscal consolidation. Over the period 2008 – 2014 FEMPI pay measures were responsible for a €2.1 billion reduction in the public service pay bill.
Responsible management of the public service pay bill has allowed the Government to prioritise recruitment to public services. In total between Q4 2013 and Q1 2018 an additional 32,075 public servants have been recruited to meet demands for enhanced public service delivery. These include 7,941 teachers, 3,470 Special Needs Assistants, 2,726 Health and Social Care Professionals, 4,234 nurses and 1,832 consultants/doctors/dentists.
Progress across other socio-economic priorities would not be possible to the same extent if the FEMPI legislation was repealed in one Budget year. For this reason we have negotiated a gradual and sustainable exit from the FEMPI acts with the commitment of approx €1.3bn through the Public Service Stability Agreement and the Public Service Pay and Pensions Act which the Oireachtas passed in December of last year. This agreement and legislation will complete the unwinding of the emergency legislation that we commenced with the Lansdowne Road Agreement. The gradual and negotiated repeal of the FEMPI legislation delivers on commitments made under the confidence and supply agreement and the programme for partnership government.
The terms of the Public Service Stability Agreement 2018-2020 facilitated by the enactment of the Public Service Pay and Pensions Act 2017, delivers real pay benefits to public servants ranging from 7.4% to 6.2% with the greater benefits going to the lower paid. The Agreement provides fair pay increases to public servants, is fair to tax payers and enables us to make progress in other areas that are important to our society, particularly capital investment in our schools, towns and hospitals.