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Petty begrudgery at its most shrill as Government battles its faltering start

Gerard O'Regan


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'There was much huffing and puffing about Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney'. Photo: Gareth Chaney / Collins

'There was much huffing and puffing about Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney'. Photo: Gareth Chaney / Collins

'There was much huffing and puffing about Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney'. Photo: Gareth Chaney / Collins

The old Irish vice of petty begrudgery ripples along - always there to console the holier than thou in full flight. It was at its most shrill when the hoary chestnut of 'mercs, perks, and pay' for our politicos got its ritual outing.

Opposition TDs, happy to leave well enough alone when it comes to their own take-home package, were in paroxysms of self-righteousness. This time round, the lightening rod for collective umbrage was the rather unfortunately titled 'super junior' ministers. Pay wise, they are getting too generous a whack, it seems.

And a voluntary pay cut by the Taoiseach and the Cabinet wasn't enough. Some residual monies from times past had pushed things above a mythical high water mark. The begrudgers were in full voice. At times, it looked like a variant of sackcloth and ashes was required to bring over-indulged 'fat cats' to heel.