Wednesday 17 January 2018

Public sector tail is wagging the dog yet again

Grounds for ignoring waste and leaving public pay untouched are already being laid, says Marc Coleman

WHATEVER about the real weather situation facing the country, last Friday at around about lunchtime, a very dense fog surrounding the country's economy began to lift when Central Bank Governor Patrick Honohan said three very important things about Ireland's €85bn bailout by the EU and IMF.

And if my interpretation is correct, his remarks confirm three things: tax hikes and welfare cuts in the recent Budget were unnecessary, a policy of cutting public pay and privatisation was preferable and more desirable but that vested interests conspired to panic the country into accepting the former so they could escape the latter.

Honohan's first message -- that our debt is manageable -- suggests that, as argued in this column on several occasions, the panic induced by the Government, panic designed to force us to accept immediate tax hikes, was overdone.

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