Wednesday 20 November 2019

Home truths

• Is it possible that the rebuff to our expectations of a reduction in our bank debt is not unrelated to our abysmal failure to implement any meaningful reform of our public service pay or performance?

We still have to drag council workers kicking and screaming through the courts in order to increase the working week from 32 hours to 34 hours.

We still have consultants on obscene levels of pay, still free to enhance their incomes elsewhere, and who can double their salary in their final year.

We have 1,100 public service pay allowances, many of which should be called pay, but even where there is no case for allowances, we continue to pay them.

We cut public service pay, but the increment system means that in many cases these cuts will be restored in two or three years.

We pay our politicians outlandish pensions: 10 years' service as minister can yield 30 years at 60pc of pay, increasing with inflation.

How much does this cost the lucky minister? Compared with what a private citizen would pay, round about zero. Many of our politicians will collect two, three or even four public pensions as teacher, TD, minister and EC bureaucrat. Cost to them? A pittance.

We have public sector absenteeism at twice the level of the private sector, an almost total lack of performance management and 100pc unaccountability.

Total incompetence will get you kicked upstairs at a higher salary, maybe even to Europe, maybe early retirement with no loss of benefits or a nice, quiet office where you will not be expected to do very much.

Why? Because you are beyond demotion, unaccountable and unsackable.

Looking at this from a German, Dutch or Finnish point of view, I would say two things.

First, you guaranteed the bank debt, and, however foolish and misguided that decision was, you made it.

Second, if you can afford to indulge yourselves as shown above, not to mention thousands of other similar examples, you can damn well afford to pay the bank debt back!

Anthony O'Leary
Portmarnock, Co Dublin

Irish Independent

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