The Taoiseach has said the Croke Park agreement will be central to dealing with the impact of nearly 8,000 retirements across the public service.

He said the Government has set up transition teams across different sectors of the public service to try to minimise the impact on frontline public services.

The new teams will be set up immediately and be comprised of senior officials and managers in the public service.

Mr Kenny said the new teams will work with departments, ministers and local managers to ensure a smooth transition due to retirements.

He said they will mainly focus on the areas of health, education and justice to ensure that services that need to be provided will continue to be provided.

Government would treat visiting Pope with respect

Mr Kenny also said that if Pope Benedict wished to accept an invitation from Irish bishops to attend the Eucharistic Congress in Ireland this year, the Government would treat the pope with the respect that his office requires.

He said following the closure of the Irish embassy in the Vatican, the relationship between the State and the church is far more “real and understanding” than it has ever been for many years.

He said he was glad to say the church was working 100% with the Government in drawing up the issues of child protection.