The Taoiseach has said the Government will continue to stand by the Lansdowne Road Agreement ahead of further talks with public sector trade unions on the issue of pay.

Enda Kenny was speaking after the Cabinet has acepted with the Labour Court recommendation on the garda pay dispute.

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe briefed ministers on the consequences of the Labour Court's proposal on public sector pay.

Last week’s Labour Court recommendation averted industrial action by gardaí.

However, many public sector trade unions that signed up to the Lansdowne Road Agreement, are seeking similar concessions.

Mr Donohoe said the Government was committed to a collective approach, but said any changes to the agreement would have significant consequences for the delivery of public services and everything the Government wants to do.

Yesterday Mr Donohoe met officers from the Public Service Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions to discuss their issues and concerns.

Speaking after today's Cabinet meeting, he confirmed that the Government will engage with ICTU to get their views.

He said that any changes have to be affordable and have to be done within current costs.

Mr Donohoe added that he would work with Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald on the €40 million cost of the Labour Court recommendation on the garda pay dispute.

He said he was working with the Taniste to maintain frontline services, adding that they cannot increase public sector wages and do everything at the same time. 

He also said the public service pay commission, which is holding its first formal meeting today, will report back in the second quarter of next year.

Unions call for renegotiation 

Meanwhile, a SIPTU spokesperson has said Mr Donohoe's comments in relation to public pay reflect those made by the union's president, Jack O'Connor, when he called on the Government to sit down with public service unions in the new year and renegotiate the Lansdowne Road Agreement.

The spokesperson said SIPTU believe the agreement has been overtaken by events, including the economic recovery.

SIPTU wished to emphasise the discussion does not revolve around just the issue of pay, it also involves job security, working conditions and outsourcing.

These comments were echoed by the General Secretary of the Irish National Teachers Organisation, who said the Minister can either go down the route of industrial relations chaos or seek to maintain and strengthen a collective agreement with employees right across the public service.

Speaking on RTÉ's Drivetime Sheila Nunan, who attended the first round of talks between ICTU and Mr Donohoe yesterday, said she told the Minister that ICTU would not be waiting until the Lansdowne Road Agreement expires in 2018 for a successor agreement.

Ms Nunan said that ICTU had anticipated that negotiations might have taken place in the first half of 2017, but even that timescale is not acceptable.

She added that the acceleration of money to public service workers has to be brought forward to top of the Government's agenda on public service pay policy.