THE National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) performs a valuable role for the country. It raises the money that pays for the State to function. The Government has to raise about €20bn a year to pay for the likes of hospitals, the civil service and other essential services, and it is the NTMA's job to source much of that money from international investors. In short it is a vital state agency.
Even so, people will find it incredibly galling to read that the head of the agency, John Corrigan – who earns €416,500 a year – pleaded with Finance Minister Michael Noonan to spare his staff from pay cuts as a result of the Haddington Road Agreement on state pay.
Mr Corrigan's point may have been valid – that his staff would not be eligible to have their cuts restored in three years' time like the rest of the public service – but that will be of little interest to hard working people struggling to make ends meet.
The NTMA is not an especially big agency, yet 13 staff earn more than €200,000, while a further 137 earn more than €100,000.
Taking a paycut at any point is difficult, but there is no comparison between someone having their salary cut from, say €150,000 to €140,000, and a person having their hours in a minimum wage job cut because business is too bad to keep them on full time.
We understand that Mr Corrigan was looking out for his staff, but that is not the point. To many, it will just appear to be one fat cat protecting a lot of other fat cats.