The pay deal between the Government and nurses to end the nationwide hospital strike action will cost up to €50m over the next two years.

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe confirmed the price of peace, which came just hours before a potentially damaging three-day strike was due to begin on Tuesday morning.

“My anticipation is that the agreement that the Labour court has brokered that the additional cost for this year will be approximately €10-15m and the additional cost for next year will be approximately €30-35m.

“When we go through the work that we have planned in relation to contracts we have with the nursing union which was laid out by the Labour court, what the recommendation issued by the Labour court are four different areas of productivity savings.

“They in addition to re-allocation of funding are making a significant contribution in this agreement,” he said.

Asked if the deal is “bullet proof” from other unions making claims, Mr Donohoe said “that is a matter for those unions, and it wouldn’t be appropriate for me to comment”.

He added that despite the Government initially hinting at forcing financial penalties on nurses who joined the picket line as they were technically in breach of the existing pay deal, he is “currently not planning to take that decision”.

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