'Cuts' to allowances are farcical

THE laughable result of the Government's attempts to cut public sector allowances does not instil confidence ahead of the Budget.

Just one of 1,000 perks, many indefensible, were cut. Some €75m in savings was promised -- a derisory €3.5m will be achieved.

It is clear that the Government, as one Opposition TD remarked, "bottled it" on making tough cuts.

But the damage here goes beyond this issue alone.

In recent days the Taoiseach was seen to wave a big stick, demanding that his ministers make public sector savings by tackling sick leave and introducing voluntary redundancies.

If his Cabinet's performance on these savings is anything like that on public sector perks then the taxpayer has good reason to be very, very worried ahead of the Budget.

Savings of €3.5bn must be made.

If elements in the public sector can't, or won't, take a reasonable share of the pain it will be left to other taxpayers to do so.