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Politicians need to face reality

Sir -- There are two huge elephants in our electoral room. One is our social welfare spend of €20bn, and the second is the public service pay bill of another €20bn.

The proposed cuts to these costs over the next four years amount to no more than clipping the elephant's toenails.

Given our income of about €30bn, it's not rocket science to deduce that the very most we can afford is €10bn on each of these big ticket items.

That leaves a paltry sum of €10bn to cover all other public expenditure, including €5bn debt service costs in 2011 (rising to €11bn in 2013). Unless some of our politicians face up to these stark facts, we are heading straight for the rocks and no bailout can save us.

Grab your life jackets.

Dick Keane,

Glenageary, Co Dublin

Sunday Independent