Thursday 25 December 2014

We fund the salaries, so we have a right to know

Published 24/01/2014 | 02:30

Angela Kerins, Chief Executive, Rehab Group. Photo: Damien Eagers
Angela Kerins, Chief Executive, Rehab Group. Photo: Damien Eagers

* I sometimes wonder how it was that I was born, raised and educated in Ireland, yet have acquired a completely different mentality, in all issues of ethics and transparency, to those people all across the public service to whom we pander by facilitating their denial over the fact that the public has the right to know every single detail about their salaries, their pensions, their expenses and all the finer financial points of their organisations' accounts, be it a government department, a quango, a hospital or a charity.

These organisations wouldn't exist without the funding they receive from the Irish public and should be answerable to them.

It simply beggars belief that nearly three years after the democratic 'revolution' Enda Kenny and his government keep talking about, he can maintain a straight face and claim to be 'shocked' at recent revelations.

Can it really be true that he still hasn't asked his officials to get a breakdown of the salary, expenses and pensions of every single charity, hospital, semi-state and quango? Every time a further revelation is made is he going to claim to be shocked?

But the real elephant in the room is that the ethos which the head of Rehab uses to justify her refusal to reveal her full remuneration stems from the top down, where the President and Taoiseach themselves refuse to verify the expenses they claim.

DESMOND FITZGERALD

CANARY WHARF, LONDON

THIS IS NO FREE MARKET

* A supposedly modern country surely adheres to the concept of the 'free market', where those invisible scales set a price the market can bear.

However, when that delicate balance is interfered with by those with vested interests who have the ear of the relevant ministers, we have distortion.

We now find that that overburdened ass, the tax serf, has been subsidising various other lotteries which supposedly lost out to the National Lottery.

In addition, at Rehab the State pumped in €126m between 2010 and 2012 but the CEO refuses to divulge the salary and expenses she receives.

We permit private companies to toll our roads, then make up the difference if they fail to hit the mother lode of gold. Similarly, Irish Water is guaranteed a gold flow in order to cover profits and bonuses.

Hopefully, Madam Merkel at head office and our supreme Dail in the Bundestag will call in the merchants and tell them to stop acting the clown and try and adhere to even the basics of what a free market actually entails.

JOHN CUFFE

CO MEATH

'GRABBING IT ALL' PARTY

* I'm thinking of setting up a new political party for the forthcoming European and local elections. It will be called GAP (Grab All Party).

We're going to guarantee all bondholders, property developers, exorbitant bank debts, pensions, bonuses, top-ups and consultant fees.

We're going to build a wind turbine outside Leinster House to catch that blast of wind and hot air that emanates from that national treasure.

Please wish us well in our new venture (mind the gap).

NOEL CUNNINGHAM

ADDRESS WITH EDITOR

WHAT DO WE BELIEVE IN?

* Although I agree with Ian Doherty on a number of points he makes pertaining to the First Lady of Ireland visiting an activist friend in Limerick jail, I feel his black and white argument avoids the uncomfortable grey matter in the middle.

I think we need to ask ourselves what do we believe in? I don't have to agree with Ms D'Arcy's activity to respect her willingness to go to prison for her beliefs.

The recent history of Ireland has seen large chunks of public money being given to the already wealthy and the Irish people are left feeling helpless and powerless in the face of this abomination.

Where we once had empathy and an inherent knowledge of right and wrong, we now have legal documents and contracts. Is it any wonder so many people in the country are suffering with mental problems?

DARREN WILLIAMS

BLACKGLEN ROAD, DUBLIN 18

IF YOU PAY PEANUTS...

* My letter, 'Charities in witch-hunt' (Irish Independent, January 20), has been heavily criticised in your letters section, largely due to my use of the term 'respectable wage' when discussing the salaries demanded by those in the non-profit sector.

My use of the term 'respectable', was, in my opinion, justified, when one considers that there are over 25,000 individuals in Ireland currently earning over €2,000 per week, most of whom, I imagine, are doing work of much less societal benefit then the CEOs of non-profit organisations.

I was by no means saying that all salaries in the non-profit sector are justified. But to attract the best and brightest to an industry that is in desperate need of innovation, a monetary incentive must by offered.

DARAGH MANGAN

CARRIGRUE, CO WATERFORD

CLASS OF POLITICAL DRUIDS

* Politics has always been subject to being trapped in a time-warp of power and money first and people and fairness last.

If we assume that before money was invented bartering was the human form of trade. it's quite clear that some must have had more sheep and cattle than others, with which to influence the local political druid.

Thus if we fast track 6,000 years to present-day politics, what has changed? Nothing. Politicians pretend to be the voice of the people, especially at elections.

And the sheeple continue to give away more of their rights, as they continue to be treated like cattle fodder, by voting for the same genetic, political druids that have been in place ever since the dawn of man.

ANTHONY WOODS

ENNIS, CO CLARE

WORK IS ITS OWN REWARD

* Why do people who are already reasonably well paid also expect a bonus as a further reward? One would expect that any person doing any job would perform it to the best of their ability – this way lies job satisfaction and a degree of happiness.

However, international research has shown that when the focus of the worker is centred on the reward – which tends to happen if a bonus is on offer – rather than on the work itself, then the quality of the work actually deteriorates.

Not only that, but short-term goals come to be preferred while the greater good of the business suffers. Witness the recent bank debacles.

It is then with some dismay that I learned of recent proposals by the Government to introduce bonuses to civil servants, teachers and nurses.

Those already doing their best cannot improve, but their work may suffer if their focus shifts to the reward rather than the work, while less dedicated ones will certainly disimprove as they become even more disgruntled.

WILLIAM J SILKE

GRATTAN ROAD, CO GALWAY

GILMORE LETS TRUTH SLIP

* Eamon Gilmore tells us that reopening the Irish embassy to the Vatican is in "response to the new papacy".

This unmistakably implies that the closing of the embassy only a couple of years ago had somehow to do with the "old papacy", with a perceived character of the church under that leadership.

But that is precisely what was – with pathetically obvious disingenuousness – persistently denied by Mr Gilmore and others as a motive for closing the embassy at the time, when supposed economic considerations were substituted for the true motivation.

JAMES N O'SULLIVAN

KILLARNEY, CO KERRY

Irish Independent

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