Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe has said Government cannot increase Garda wages as all other public sector workers would then expect the same, writes Elaine Loughlin of the Irish Examiner.
Frontline gardaí have given the Government five weeks to restore their pay or face “unprecedented” strike action on four days next month.
Asked about the Garda pay claim at an Oireachtas Finance Committee Mr Donohoe said: "What's most important to me is that we have a rate of wage restoration that is affordable.
"Were we to reach a particular agreement on wages for the Gardaí every other public servant would expect that to happen as well."
Gardaí will not report for duty on November 4, 11, 18 and 25 in a row over pay and conditions.
But this afternoon Mr Donohoe said he would be willing to meet with gardaí in a bid to solve the pay dispute.
"Its a very serious development and we have great respect for the work of An Garda Siochána and we need the Lansdowne Road Agreement to be honoured and implemented.
"The precedent is that the minister who has responsibility for that policy area leads negotiations in those areas and that's the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice, but I and my department will give the Tánaiste any support and assistance we can offer."
He added that industrial action has not begun yet and is a number of weeks away and so it is very important that discussions take place in the weeks to come.
"Its very important that a period of discussion takes place, regarding what has happened.
"I have to ensure that the wages that the State pay, that we can afford to pay them both now and in the future and that is why the Lansdowne Road Agreement is so important.
"My clear message is that we want to support the guards, we want to support them in their work, but we have to honour commitments that we have to everybody who works in public services in our country."