'Special' public pay cases will risk wrecking our fragile economy post-Brexit
We can all check our prejudices and decide who - if anyone - in the public sector deserves a pay rise.
Should it be the gardaí, who often work at risk to personal safety? What about nurses, who can literally save lives? Or teachers, who shape future generations? And maybe there are other unsung public service workers who need and deserve a rise? But rather like the parents of a large family, ministers must appear to treat all their children equally. Otherwise the fragile fabric of the public service pay deals could quickly unravel. Ministers facing up to gardaí, teachers, nurses and whatever other groups, are under no illusions here: any "special deals" awarded to one group - must be applied across the board. That cannot happen.
Now Budget 2017 has been agreed, the real challenge for this minority Coalition is public service pay policy under pressure after seven years of continual cuts.