Monday 18 December 2017

Kevin Rafter: Protected elite must feel pain just like the rest of us

There comes a time in a bad Irish summer when there's no need to pay any more attention to the weather forecast. Day after day the outlook stays exactly the same -- rain and more rain. Our economic recession and banking collapse has a touch of this Met Office consistency.

The bad news just keeps coming, although the sound of heckling teachers this week was a push towards switch-off territory. The teachers are wrong about the core of the Croke Park deal. A pay freeze in an economy that is continuing to decline is not a bad proposition. Add in that most public servants have secure employment, and few reasonable people would quibble about a deal that requires greater efficiency.

But the problem with shouting down the emotional outbursts of teachers -- and other public servants like the passport workers -- is that there is merit in some of the anger. Brian Cowen, and Bertie Ahern before him, presided over a policy agenda that has shown the Celtic Tiger to be nothing more than a Celtic Mirage. Equally galling is that over the last two years, Brian Lenihan has consistently acted to minimise the economic and financial pain on the privileged classes.

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