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Towards 2016 Review and Transitional Agreement 2008-2009



I believe that Social Partnership has served Ireland exceptionally well since 1987. It has played a pivotal role in our economic and social development over that period, when we have enjoyed remarkable economic growth, improved living standards and better public services.

The current Social Partnership Agreement, Towards 2016, is a ten year strategic framework for economic and social development. This Review has highlighted the significant progress during the first phase of Towards 2016 and the Government and Social Partners remain committed to its shared long-term goals.

However, Ireland now faces very significant economic and fiscal challenges which were not foreseen at the outset of Towards 2016. In this Review and Transitional Agreement 2008-2009, the Government and Social Partners reaffirm their willingness to work together to provide Ireland with stability and certainty during this difficult period of transition.

The Irish economy can be strong and dynamic again provided we take the right decisions during this difficult period. We have therefore concluded a Transitional Agreement on pay and workplace issues which responds to the immediate challenges facing the economy.

We have also agreed on the need to re-prioritise public expenditure in order to adhere to the key macro-economic principles underlying Towards 2016 while recognising the priority to be given to protecting the most vulnerable people.

These negotiations have taken place in a complex and fast-changing economic environment. I would like to thank the Social Partners for their commitment and determination, without which it would not have been possible to secure agreement.

Finally, I would like to confirm the Government's intention to work constructively with the Social Partners during this challenging economic period. We will best overcome the difficulties which Ireland now faces if we devote our time and energy to these serious challenges within the proven framework of Social Partnership.

Brian Cowen T.D.,