Sunday 4 December 2016

Marc Coleman: Sensitivity needed when wielding axe

Choosing between jobs or pay cuts in the public sector is a no-brainer but will the Government heed sound advice, asks Marc Coleman

Published 05/02/2012 | 05:00

So then, what do you think we should do? Sack the special needs assistant earning €40k? Or reduce the pay of a university professor from €148k a year to €108k a year?

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It's a fairly simple question, the answer boils down to a clear moral choice, one that I remember being illustrated in my old Catholic catechism with the following question: if 10 people are stuck on an island and there are only enough full rations for nine what should be done? The options are (a) kill one person or (b) reduce the rations by 10 per cent.

I think the vast majority of people -- Catholic or non-Catholic -- would go for option (b). But the Croke Park Agreement -- so beloved of the secular Labour Party -- effectively forces us to go for option (a): kill the special needs assistant so we can keep paying prof more than his Catholic majesty the King of Spain (who, by the way, earns €145k a year for heading a nation of 45m people).

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