Health deal in Irish Republic could save 200m euros

image captionHealth Minister James Reilly was criticised for introducing a separate cut of 130m euros

The Irish government has struck a deal with health professionals that could save about 200m euros a year.

The deal with senior doctors goes some way to help reduce the Irish health service deficit currently feared to hit 500m euros by December.

Negotiations with hospital consultants were carried out all weekend and late into Sunday.

The agreement means that new consultants in the Republic will have a 30% cut in starting salary.

'Theatre closures'

Senior doctors, meanwhile, have agreed to work more flexible hours.

This comes as part of a series of cuts to meet the terms of Ireland's bailout by the EU and International Monetary Fund.

The Irish Minister for Health, James Reilly, was recently criticised for introducing a separate cut of 130m euros.

Tony O'Brien from the HSE stated that these cuts would "absolutely" lead to bed and theatre closures.

The minister has said that he will have to find further savings of 700m euros in 2013.