Saturday 10 December 2016

David McWilliams: Fragile Government needs to stand up to unions to protect the rest of us

Published 19/10/2016 | 02:30

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and the Government must make a choice over pay deals Picture: Tom Burke
Taoiseach Enda Kenny and the Government must make a choice over pay deals Picture: Tom Burke

Do you get the feeling that Ireland has possibly the weakest Government in years, when it may well need the strongest? This fragile Government faces an internal insurrection led by public servants who feel that the recent recovery in the economy should be theirs. It's hard to fault the logic of the teachers and the gardaí. After all, they have been led to believe there is a direct link between tax revenues and their salaries.

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Let's be clear, there is none - or at least there should be none. However, given the way this country has run itself over the past three decades with that creature called 'partnership', public-sector unions have managed to create some line between tax revenues and public-sector costs.

During the downturn, this link was underplayed as the private sector shouldered the bust in the guise of mass unemployment and emigration. The public sector was protected from this traumatic fate.

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