Tuesday 12 December 2017

Archaic wage body ripe for reform

Richard Bruton has correctly targeted the Joint Labour Committees for a good kicking, writes Celia Larkin

Celia Larkin

THE Government was lucky last week. Very lucky. More lucky than it's going to be in the future. It engaged in that truly idiotic activity of stating its achievements, which is always a mistake, albeit a mistake usually made by governments in their dying days as a way to persuade voters to like them. It never works, and this Government shouldn't fool itself that, because it got away with only flesh wounds, it worked this time.

Quite apart from the fact that boasting of "achievements" tends to make Irish people dislike the boaster, the fact is that it doesn't matter what's done in the first 100 days. It's what's done -- or not done -- in the first 100 weeks that really matters. Because it's at that point that patterns of growth or decline, patterns of employment or unemployment, are both well established and attributable only to the actions of the current government. Right now, any failures can be blamed on the previous administration, although that lifeline is fast running out.

One thing the Government decidedly hasn't done is create jobs -- and it was interesting to hear Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney vigorously downplaying the Government's own Jobs Initiative. Now that was a lemon, wherever it came from. Michael Noonan looked and sounded dubious at the time he announced it, and he was right.

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