Thursday 14 December 2017

Public sector pay bonanza continues

JUSTICE Minister Alan Shatter's plans to reduce, as part of a general lowering of judges' pay, the salary of the Chief Justice by €44,000 may seem dramatic – but this still leaves a salary of over €250,000.

This is far too much by any reasonable comparison, not only with judges in other countries but even with their heads of government. In Germany, for example, (where, by the way, judges are trained as judges and not just as lawyers), the salary range goes from roughly €30,000 to – if one becomes president of the constitutional court – €140,000. Cutting judges' salaries here is only a populist fig leaf prompted by recent discussion. What about all the other still grossly overpaid groups in the public service? Our many ambassadors, for example, get €330,000 each a year, from which they don't even have to meet their day-to-day living expenses. Will they be included in the forthcoming referendum too? If not, why not? It is already well past the time to give up the ineffectual fig leaves in this whole area of higher salaries and pensions etc in the public service, including the universities, and to get down to the real business of making savings and setting the right moral tone. How can one blame the French and Germans for their dislike of bailing out or of sharing fiscal risks (for example through the introduction of eurobonds) with people who pay themselves as our politicians and public “servants” continue to do, while further hammering the poor? Is this what we got rid of the old lot for?


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