The former secretary general at the Department of Finance has described public service union demands for accelerated pay as a “dangerous challenge coming from a minority”.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, John Moran said there are external factors causing a slowdown in the Irish economy and that means there is a possibility of running out of money that we thought we might have.

This meant, he said, hard choices must be made about where the money should be spend and it is not correct to say that because the economy is growing, wages should increase.

He added that the reality is we need more services.

Mr Moran said there are other citizens who cannot hold the country up to ransom for more money and he is concerned that there are small groups of people who use the excuse of public services to get to the top of the queue.

"There are people who wanted more carers, relief at home. There are people living in fear of their houses being flooded.

“They're not shouting loud enough or not able to hold the country up to ransom. They have to wait till next year, to wait for the next budgetary allocations, hoping that their calls for more resources will be heard," he added.

Mr Moran said the Labour Court made recommendations for the gardaí, not the Government.

He said he had a lot of sympathy for new public service employees who are receiving a lot less than their colleagues, and that a debate about the allocation of priorities, and fair payment should be had.

He said that we cannot have “Groundhog Day” and pour money on a problem. This attitude, he said, is what caused the problem last time.

"We cannot have groundhog day. We cannot just pour money on a problem by rising wages to deal with rising costs. That's what we did, that's what got us into the last crisis. And we did it then, when we thought we had money. Today we don't have any money, we're borrowing to keep the lights on."

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