Monday 20 November 2017

Let us take our bitter medicine

Fine Gael must follow the UK's lead and take a knife to the bloated public sector wage bill, writes Eamon Delaney

In the week of the Queen's visit, there was much talk of the similarities between our two countries and what we can learn from each other. So how about following the UK lead and taking robust action to correct our public finances?

In Britain, there have been some of the harshest cuts seen in modern times, but far from being punished the Conservatives did very well in recent polls, because people respect the necessary measures taken. A discerning take-the-medicine British public recognise the damage was done by the previous profligate Labour government and now the UK exchequer is drained and spending needs to be cut.

But no such measures are being taken here, despite a similar and even more reckless bout of spending. Our new Government, despite its large majority, continues to tinker around the edges. We have the farce of the Croke Park agreement, which itself is a barrier to any real cuts in the public sector, still being resisted by unions and the Government playing along with it. In the UK, quangos have been obliterated. Here, they remain, despite all the talk of reform.

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