Tuesday 12 November 2019

Hard times

• My heart goes out to Dr Michael Murphy, President of University College Cork, who continues to be unjustly reviled for struggling to think logically while attempting to justify his salary.

I doubt if any of his detractors would have done any better. Bertie Ahern, Brian Cowen and other great modern Irish statesmen experienced a similar difficulty, so Dr Murphy can take comfort from the fact that he is in very good company.

I assume that the college's head of philosophy is on sabbatical leave, with the consequence that rational thinking may be temporarily in short supply in Cork.

It does not matter if Dr Murphy's justification of his alleged extravagant salary makes no sense to us; if we have not experienced the strain of managing a very high salary, we are not in a position to comment.

Recently, I overheard a seller of the 'Big Issue' pontificating about the overpaid and overfed in our society. I responded angrily, "What would you know? When did you last experience the stress of earning over €300,000?" I think he got the point.

I can understand the difficulty created for Dr Murphy in buying a big house. We have all done it at some time in our lives -- being overcome by the prospect of a very privileged lifestyle, and finding we need a house to match it.

There are rumours afoot that Blarney Castle is to be offered as the official residence for future presidents of University College Cork in order to ensure that the postholder has a better grasp on the linguistic competence conferred by regularly kissing the great stone.

However, kissing the stone is not without its risks: if your wallet is overloaded, it could easily drop from your pocket.

Philip O'Neill
Oxford, UK

Irish Independent

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