Thursday 22 March 2018

RTE must report both sides on public sector pay

Eoghan Harris

Eoghan Harris

Last Tuesday, in Seanad Eireann, I called for a 20 per cent cut in public sector pay -- including the pay of TDs and senators. But the Oireachtas Report team made an inaccurate one-sentence reference to my speech, cut out my actual contribution completely, but gave ample coverage to a robust rebuttal by Senator Jerry Buttimer.

Only two senators crossed swords on the public sector -- myself and Senator Jerry Buttimer. Accordingly, simple fairness dictated that the gist of what both of us said be reported in a balanced fashion. Which was how Jimmy Walsh handled it in his Seanad report in the Irish Times the next day, succinctly summing up what myself and Senator Buttimer had to say as follows: "Mr Harris said the simplest way to achieve the €5bn in savings the Government needed was by a 20 per cent pay cut across the public sector. That sector was objectively and relatively a privileged class now. If he were an active socialist, he would regard these as the only class of fat cats around. It was not their fault: the benchmarking system had not been meant to give them 20 per cent more than what could be earned by those in the private sector.

"'It is wrong that they are paid 20 per cent more. It must be taken back.'

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