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Public servants are easy targets

Sir -- Last week Jim Cusack made reference to a proposed new garda roster, (Sunday Independent, January 8, 2011). This article contained several inaccuracies.

Public servants in Ireland have been the subject of much vitriol through many media sources over the last number of years. Ordinary public servants are targeted and demeaned when this occurs.

Members of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors appreciate that they have jobs in these tough times. But they have the same outgoings as other workers. Surely they cannot be expected to either apologise for having chosen a career in the gardai, or to shoulder more than their share of the burden to correct the financial imbalance in society.

I don't recall plasterers, electricians, plumbers, painters or carpenters being vilified for the property debacle. Nor any attention being drawn to the pay they received during the 'boom'. And rightly so -- when ordinary public servants could only watch as their neighbours in private industry lived their unrestrained lives on their well-earned pay in those boom years. Members in my association were laughed at for remaining in the public service when their peers in the private sector made handsome salaries. Now it seems that as the boom no longer exists, it's time to target those who are lucky enough to have a job in the public sector.

So, keep it up if you wish. But remember when your child is sick that the paramedic who takes her to hospital, the nurse who tends to her and comforts you, the teacher who will tell her classmates that she is in hospital, are public servants.

Think of the garda who attends a road accident and has to break the devastating news to relatives. Remember the garda you call when you think there's someone trying to get into your house. Remember the garda who will step into the row, where maybe your son is being kicked around. Another of your frontline public servants.

That services are being reduced in Ireland is not the fault of the ordinary public servant. However, they seem to be the easy target.

John Redmond,

Deputy General Secretary,

Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors

Sunday Independent