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Cutting back civil service payouts

The news that former top civil servant Dermot McCarthy received a pay-off of more than €700,000 when he retired came as a shock to many. Now today's Irish Independent can reveal that a further 55 senior civil servants are in line for large payouts if they too retire this year.

While we appreciate the Government's difficulties in curbing such payouts, doing nothing on the grounds of "contractual obligations" is not good enough. At a time when hospital overcrowding has reached epidemic proportions and social welfare recipients face the prospect of cuts, it is unconscionable for the Government to stand idly by while such retirement pay-offs run to several hundred thousand euro.

The essence of leadership is only being prepared to ask those whom you lead to do what you yourself are also prepared to do. With swingeing spending cuts and painful tax increases inevitable in next December's Budget, the Government must be prepared to take hard decisions on massive payouts.