Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe is set to finalise plans in the coming days to give almost €200m worth of pay rises to 60,000 teachers, nurses, gardaí, and other public sector workers in a bid to end recession-era pay rates.
Mr Donohoe is likely to sign off on the deal either today or tomorrow in a move that would be worth up to €3,000 per person hired since the salary cutbacks were imposed at the depth of the economic crash in 2011.
Government sources confirmed the plan last night after weekend media reports, saying the extra money is due to be made available as part of next month’s budget, which is now just a fortnight away.
However, while budget talks between Mr Donohoe and Fianna Fáil public expenditure spokesman Barry Cowen and finance spokesman Michael McGrath are at a late stage, officials refused to reveal other details of the plan.
Other sources separately confirmed that the gambling tax — which would impose a 1% charge on betting websites that could bring in an extra €50m to the exchequer — has been signed off on by Mr Donohoe.
The money due to be generated by the policy is expected to be ringfenced for support services for people who are addicted to gambling and for other addiction treatment centres.
In addition, it is expected that the existing 9% Vat rate on restaurants and hotels will be increased by at least 2% in the upcoming budget in a move that will generate a further €200m for the economic war chest.
Fianna Fáil is continuing to call for a detailed Brexit preparedness package in the event of a worst-case scenario outcome to the Brexit talks, while the need for de facto protection money for Irish businesses was also flagged in an internal Government meeting last week.
However, while the plan is expected to be a centre-piece issue in Mr Donohoe’s budget when he announces it next month, it is now accepted that the granny grant proposal is a non-runner, while it remains unclear how the Government will fund runaway health service costs and if it will introduce any form of vacant property tax to address the homelessness crisis.