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Monday 16 September 2019

Irish civil servants have best deal in EU, study shows

LIAM COLLINS

Irish public-sector workers are better paid and are less productive than civil servants in other European Union countries, according to a study conducted by a leading Irish academic.

Public-sector workers earn an average of €50,000 a year -- 32 per cent more than private-sector workers, who are on an average wage of €38,000.

That was before the last round of public pay increases.

As the private sector is decimated by rising unemployment and wage cuts, the study, by Dublin economist Anthony Foley, paints a dramatic picture of runaway expenditure that is soaking up huge amounts of tax and crippling the Irish economy.

"The recent and sudden reduction in tax revenues suggests that the affordability of the public sector is a critical and urgent issue," says Mr Foley.

He adds that public-sector efficiency is another critical matter for Government.

As nurses and teachers protest about pay and conditions, it has emerged that the Departments of Health and Education are at the heart of the country's growing financial crisis.

Between 1998 and 2007 the pay bill for the Department of Health has increased by 193 per cent to (€2.4bn to €7.2 bn) and the Department of Education by 155 per cent (€2.2bn to €5.6bn).

More frightening is that the vast majority of increases in staff numbers in the Department of Health was made up of administrative/management employees and not frontline nurses and doctors.

Mr Foley is a senior lecturer in economics at Dublin City University Business School.

He says: "There is evidence to suggest that public servants in Ireland are higher paid than elsewhere" -- and he includes the EU and the OECD countries in his calculations.

"Public-sector employment growth has greatly exceeded the growth in population," he adds.

His assessment is contained in the current issue of Administration.

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