Thursday 30 October 2014

Croke Park isn't perfect, but it did buy us time

Published 08/11/2012 | 17:00

IT has become fashionable to throw the eyes up to heaven whenever the Croke Park agreement comes up in conversation.

The deal's shortcomings are regularly ventilated and those on the right of the political spectrum can recite, virtually blindfolded, why it has been a waste of everyone's time.

And there is indeed much to criticise about the agreement signed off on at GAA headquarters.

For instance, the guarantee of job security to every permanent public servant has enraged people who must take their chances in the struggling private sector.

Croke Park has been sluggish too in meeting the stated targets of cutting numbers and wage costs while delivering much sought after flexibility.

But there is also another side to the argument.

Before critics dismiss what is already being termed Croke Park 1.5, they should dwell a moment on the alternatives.

Because the deal has bought the economy time and delivered industrial harmony at a time when other debt-burdened EU nations were trying to cope with social and civil unrest.

Expensive and iniquitous though the Public Service Agreement 2010-2014 is, it has delivered savings and some certainty at a time when there was precious little about.

Croke Park 1.5 is more than likely worth it, especially if the Government can drive a vastly harder bargain next time.

All the signs are they will definitely be trying to do so.

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