Only one way to kill off semi-state vampires
FAS, the toxic training agency lately renamed SOLAS, has much in common with the vampires of legend. Like much else in the legacy bequeathed to us by the Fianna Fail-Green coalition, it has not died but hovers in an "undead" state in which it continues to suck our blood.
One channel through which the blood leaves the taxpayers' veins is the extraordinary system whereby agency employees are entitled to 44 days' extra leave, on top of their normal holidays, in each of the two years before retirement.
When this scheme was instituted in 1983, it was no doubt held up as a model of enlightenment, preparing the beneficiaries for the shock of leaving work. That proposition is somewhat weakened by the fact that FAS itself has provided employees -- and their spouses -- with pre-retirement courses.