Friday 9 December 2016

Decommissioning the pork barrel - now that the fair is over

Published 09/05/2016 | 02:30

'Enda expelled the Troika and it was forgotten within days. So maybe we will forget the cuts, if the cuts are reversed. Our guess is that Enda will hold on for a while in the hope that a possible economic upturn will lead to a corresponding boost in the polls' Photo: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie
'Enda expelled the Troika and it was forgotten within days. So maybe we will forget the cuts, if the cuts are reversed. Our guess is that Enda will hold on for a while in the hope that a possible economic upturn will lead to a corresponding boost in the polls' Photo: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

The fairest way is to give the new administration a fair chance. The Government was matched up in Lisdoonvarna. Now the plain people and the populist commentators are giving out about how long it took to agree the dowry. It was as if all Micheál, Enda and the Endies had to do was sit down at the breakfast and decide who will feed the cat.

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It took years of negotiating to merge Aer Lingus into British Airways. The Luas deal still isn't sorted. Couples spend years agonising over whether or not they will get married. And we crib because it takes a few months to agree a deal that will shape our country for many years to come. The politicians were right to take their time. But who will pay for the pork barrel?

The pork barrel is like 'fiscal space' used to be a few months back. Everyone uses it to make themselves sound deadly smart. According to the Oxford dictionary, pork barrel is "used in reference to the utilisation of government funds for projects designed to please voters or legislators and win votes, [eg] 'the lesson that power is based on the pork barrel and purchased with patronage'." I wouldn't trust the internet to tell me the day of the week, but the definition seems sound enough.

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