Tánaiste and Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore has said his party’s actions in Government will sometimes be unpopular as they seek to bring the public finances back to health.

Mr Gilmore was speaking at Labour’s annual James Connolly Commemoration at Arbour Hill Cemetery.

He said their achievements in power will be incremental as the gravity of the economic crisis cannot be overstated.

He also defended the Government’s plan to levy pension funds to pay for the jobs initiative, saying it is a temporary levy and the funds had benefitted from advantageous tax arrangements in recent years.

On reported French resistance to Ireland getting an interest rate reduction from the EU, Mr Gilmore said they always expected it would be difficult to get such a reduction.

He said the countries that are resisting a lower interest rate for Ireland are not helping this country or recovery across Europe either. He said the quid pro quo of corporation tax is not on.

On the Labour Court decision that Bord na Mona workers should get pay increases to bring them in line with other energy sector workers, he said the company will likely discuss the issue with the department and the Minister concerned will then bring the view of the department to the Government.

On the levy on private pension funds, he repeated that its a very modest levy applied to funds built up with the benefit of tax relief and allowances over the years aimed at funding the jobs initiative and getting people off the dole.