IRELAND - The Irish government is set to consider cuts to public pensions in the upcoming budget in a bid to close a gap in public finances of over €20bn (US$29.6bn).
In an interview with TV3, head of government Brian Cowen said the cuts introduced by budget in December will be "right across the board".
He said: "A third of our spending is on public service pays and pensions; a third is on the delivery of services and a third is on social welfare.
"All of these issues have to be looked at. In the past, we have increased all these expenditures well beyond inflation, but 30% of our tax revenue disappeared and the gap created by this has to be closed overtime."
Cowen also said the adjustments will be temporary during the next years until the country "gets back into growth".
He recalled during this financial year the government had to increase income tax and impose pension levies as "a means of trying to bridge this huge gap between spending and revenues coming in".
He defined the current financial position as "unsustainable" and added: "We have got to adjust spending and this will be the primary focus of the budget."
Unions have been outspoken about rejecting potential cuts in pensions and pay.
This summer, general secretary of IMPACT Peter McLoone said his union would strike if the government tried to impose any pension cuts arguing that public service workers were not responsible for the shortfall in public finances. Instead, he pointed the finger at "misguided policy and sharp practice in banking, finance and property speculation".
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