Latest: Public-service workers who don't perform should be asked to step aside, says Taoiseach

Update 3.23pm: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said that he stands by comments that senior civil servants should leave if they are not performing.

"The vast majority of people in the public service and civil service work very hard, they do an excellent job," he said.

"We have good public services in general in Ireland as a consequence of that, and the ratification of this pay deal is us honouring our commitment to public servants to restore their pay.

"However, in any workplace, there are people who don't measure up, who don't perform, and it's the norm in many workplaces to ask people step aside, and to leave, if they're not performing.

"And I don't think the public service should be any different in that regard."

Update 13.20pm: Micheál Martin has hit out at the Taoiseach accusing him of "scapegoating" health workers and other civil servants, writes Elaine Loughlin.

The Fianna Fáil leader has said the Government is now threatening to ask under-performing senior civil servants to step down as they don't have the answer themselves.

It comes after Taoiseach Leo Varadkar suggested that Government would encourage under-performing senior health staff and other public sector workers to step aside by letting them leave with their pensions intact and an “exit package”.

Speaking at the Fianna Fáil think-in in Longford Mr Martin said: "I don't buy into the argument that you know I am going to ask a civil servant or ask a person to move on as a resolution of this.

"There are real issues there that need to be dealt with, a policy of scapegoating the next available individual isn't a route to go.

"I think that extraordinary comment in my view was quite meaningless in the sense that ministers don't have either the jurisdiction or the capacity to ask anybody to move on actually in real legal terms.

"So it means nothing but it sounds good," Mr Martin said.

Earlier: The Fianna Fáil leader has accused the Taoiseach of ensuring Fine Gael's election manifesto is ready by November instead of ensuring homeless people are in houses.

Micheál Martin was speaking at the opening of his party's pre-Dáil meeting.

"The Taoiseach has committed to producing a manifesto by November," he said.

"I would much prefer if the Taoiseach committed to getting more people housed by November, getting children out of hotels by November.

"We had Simon Coveney 12 months ago saying 'I went to Enda Kenny, I demanded the housing portfolio', and 12 months on he runs out of the housing department and the Taoiseach facilitates him."

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