'Mac the Knife' reveals where he'd make spending cuts
Published 07/10/2010 | 05:00
THE Croke Park Agreement should be revisited as part of a more intense round of spending cuts, former finance minister Ray MacSharry has said.
Mr MacSharry, who is credited with fixing the public finances in the late 1980s, also called for more cuts in the pay and pensions of ministers, ex-ministers like himself and senior public servants -- along with the first cuts in existing pensions for retired government workers.
"Pensions cannot be immune if salaries are being cut, although I wouldn't touch the basic old-age pension," he said in an Irish Independent interview.
Mr MacSharry also believes that property taxes and water charges will have to be part of the process of reducing the €19bn-a-year budget deficit, along with higher tax for higher earners.
"I would support a higher top rate of tax," he said.
The man known as "Mack the Knife" also calls for a major cull of state agencies known as "quangos".
He says the present situation is worse than the one he faced in Charles Haughey's government.
"People are angry. They were led to believe that things were not as bad as they have turned out to be. Now that they know the truth, action can be taken."