Thursday 28 May 2015

Our troubled economy is a long way from awarding pay rises

Published 28/08/2014 | 02:30

Ged Nash
Ged Nash

IT is strange to be hearing calls for populist pay rises ('Time for wage rises to spur economy - Labour minister', Irish Independent, August 27) when we are still borrowing €6bn this year to balance our current account.

We are insolvent, but for some the answer is to give ourselves a pay rise - how wise is that? The Irish domestic economy is in intensive care. Retail turnover is down by one third since 2006, with many business closures continuing as a result. To recover that 33pc lost, it will take many years, perhaps 10 years at 3pc growth per annum. Then, and only then, can we even consider paying ourselves more.

This Government has already increased the national minimum wage. The National Competitiveness Council says that was an error, and today we continue to erode the nation's competitiveness position with errant abandon.

Trade union leaders and the Labour Party only pay lip service to the long-term unemployed, as they collectively call for pay rises. They are the vocal minority playing populist tunes that will keep the long-term unemployed on the dole queues. It is time to hold our nerve, let the economy recover fully, and build growth again on a realistic basis.

Ireland's troubled economy is a long, long way from the luxury of awarding each other pay rises.

Brian Cooper

Old Youghal Road, Cork

Bruton didn't feel hardship

It is disgraceful that Richard Bruton has shot down the statement by Labour Minister for Business and Employment Ged Nash that low to middle-income earners need pay rises to help the economic recovery.

Like so many others, since 2008 I have received no pay increases but have endured a pay cut. Of course, Mr Bruton's pay packet insulates him from the hardship experienced by the ordinary working people of Ireland, like myself and others who fall within this category.

A five-year-old could work out the equation: low income = no spending power = job losses = high unemployment = a bad economy.

We need politicians like Mr Nash who understand the basics and who are committed to stimulating the economy rather than putting it to death.

David Bradley

Drogheda, Co Louth

Rural towns need big games too

While both Kerry and Mayo supporters may be unhappy with the Limerick venue for the All-Ireland semi-final replay, Jarlath Burns certainly made some valid observations (Irish Independent, August 27) when he said more of these major games should be played outside Croke Park and at venues around the country which may have the adequate facilities.

Firstly, we should take into consideration that many of our rural towns are suffering in the downturn, with many business closing. As Burns correctly states, there is little sense in playing all our games in Croke Park when it is often not full to capacity.

After all, we regularly hear calls for better promotion of tourism in rural Ireland and certainly the GAA is one association equipped to promote it by spreading games nationwide. Killarney certainly welcomed the All-Ireland hurling final between Kilkenny and Tipperary in 1937.

John Kelly

Killarney, Co Kerry

Replays do happen - it's sport

John Reid (Irish Independent, Letters, August 27) is wrong on so many counts regarding the Kerry/Mayo All-Ireland semi final replay.

First of all Kerry and Mayo are not to "blame" for the fact that a replay is needed. These are two fantastic football teams who put on a very entertaining and exciting show and in the end, they turned out to be evenly matched on the day.

This is what happens in a lot of sports. Secondly, Mr Reid points to the fact that there were 30,000 empty seats in Croke Park for the match and he goes on to direct his ire towards Kerry and Mayo fans for not travelling.

Perhaps he was elsewhere for the past few weeks and missed the fact that there was a rail stoppage on the day of the match.

Finally, I don't believe that anybody is "insulting" the Irish-American diaspora with regard to the American football match being held in Croke Park. The suggestion put forward from many quarters was to hold the Kerry/Mayo replay on the weekend following the American football.

I fail to see how it is an "insult" to all those American football fans to hold an All-Ireland semi-final in Croke Park a full week after they have had their day out in the GAA's largest stadium.

Simon O'Connor

Crumlin, Dublin 12

Aviva for the rematch, anyone?

Given the wonderful co-operation between the GAA and the IRFU during the building of the Aviva Stadium, would the IRFU have been prepared to host the Kerry/Mayo replay? Croker certainly came up trumps for the rugby fraternity. I doubt whether the fellas with the hip flasks and sheep-skin coats would let them down in their hour of need.

Ed Toal

Dublin 4

Salutes at state funerals

Why is it that past Fianna Fail Taoisigh and Presidents are honoured with military salutes at their funerals - Jack Lynch's funeral being an honourable exception.

As we move away from the culture of the gun here, surely in sacred places such as graveyards the firing of guns is an anomaly and contrary to the Christian message?

Brendan Cafferty

Ballina, Mayo

No statue for John Redmond

I wish to take issue with former Taoiseach John Bruton's call for a statue to be erected in honour of John Redmond. Redmond's chief claim to fame is that during that atrocity we call World War I, in which up to 50,000 Irishmen lost their lives, he made himself the British Empire's top recruiting sergeant in Ireland, urging his countrymen to join up and risk everything for the sum of "two shillings" a day.

Since the start of this year, our media has paraded numerous relatives of those unfortunate soldiers across its pages and TV screens displaying medals as if those men had taken part in some kind of Olympic Games on the killing fields.

No mention of the rats in the trenches "some as big as cats" from gorging on the dead in the dark of night, or the rain and muck, or the officer behind the men holding a gun in his fist ready to shoot any soldier who refused to go "over the top". The British Empire of that time was constantly at war somewhere in the world.

Paddy O'Brien

Balbriggan, Co Dublin

Applause for John Major

With reference to your reader's letter on the absence of unionist/loyalist leaders at Albert Reynolds's funeral, (Irish Independent, August 27) I would agree that it was conspicuous.

Thankfully, John Major and Theresa Villiers cancelled out that anomaly with their presence and how right it was for Major to receive the spontaneous applause from the assembled mourners.

Ian Hester

Fourmilehouse, Co Roscommon

Irish Independent

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