A legacy of FF? January 24, 2013Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics.
Quite a clever line from Leo Varadkar when talking about Croke Park as being a ‘legacy of the FF-led government’. It allows for the potential to change the agreement as well as distancing Fine Gael from it and implicitly pushing Labour towards ‘ownership’ of it under the current government. That said one wonders how much utility there is in it. I’m always fascinated by the lack of quantification of the supposed positive outcomes from reneging on the CPA. But the problem is that any monies saved – as is pushed by the Fiscal Advisory Council – would go into paying off the deficit rather than to support social provision.
But as interesting is the thought that if it is done away with and the situation is still there or thereabouts in its wake what cover then will the government (and others) have to hide? It’s that that makes me wonder if it will be seriously reshaped, at least this side of a general election.
And Niamh Connolly in the SBP refers to this when she suggest that:
So far, there has been plenty of sabre rattling on what is on or off the table, with trade union leaders particularly incensed by the proposal for compulsory redundancies in some circumstances. But the reality that this administration will have to take full ownership of whatever emerges in the shape of a revised Croke Park deal is also hitting home for government TDs.
It has been highly expedient to have the CPA as a goad and a prod, and particularly so given that it was shaped by the former administration. It’s interesting that that point about the Fiscal Advisory Council comes starkly into focus in the following:
The continued payment of increments – to people at all levels – is likely to be one of the crunch issues, and has allowed many employees to claw back pay cuts. A bankrupt employer can hardly afford pay increases, yet that is precisely what the state has been doing throughout the economic crisis, according to Stephen Donnelly, the independent TD for Wicklow.
Donnelly has calculated that €690 million has been awarded in pay hikes via increments since the start of the Croke Park deal in 2010. “The argument about incremental rises applying mainly to the low-paid is misleading by the unions, as loads are going to middle and higher grades,” he said.
…he agreed that not paying increments could take cash out of the economy, Donnelly said that the money could also be diverted to creating thousands of graduate jobs in key areas of need in the public sector.
The key line in the above is ‘money could also be…’. Let’s be honest. It won’t be – not in the context of the Fiscal Advisory Council’s precepts, and that will be cash taken out of the economy. Indeed the whole thrust of the debate is precisely about ‘saving money’, and this is hardly a secret. Which leaves us where exactly?