More on the ‘new politics’ October 5, 2016Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
It’s Stephen Collins again! Now he’s talking about a strike by the GardaI… let the games commence.
The fact that the upholders of the law are threatening to break the law in pursuit of their own self-interest adds a sinister dimension to a row over a pay claim. The challenge to the authority of the State is one the Government simply cannot afford to bow to on a point of principle, apart altogether from the financial implications.
The Opposition parties also face a challenge in how they respond to the claim by gardaí. If they countenance illegality for perceived short-term political gain they will do further damage to the credibility of the political system.
The fact that the Anti Austerity Alliance rushed out in support of the garda action says all that needs to be said about the folly of the approach being adopted by the bodies representing gardaí.
One of the features of Irish society is that gardaí are still held in wide public esteem despite a succession of scandals in which the force been embroiled over the past two decades.
It appears that the public has made allowances for gardaí in the light of the very difficult job they do, and the fact that, through thick and thin, the bulk of the force have maintained good relations with the communities they serve.
Not only, but also!
In purely practical terms the Government cannot concede the pay claim without opening the door to similar claims across the public service. That would swallow up all of the extra €1 billion or so which is due to be given away in the budget for improved public services and limited tax cuts.
Minister for Public Expenditure Pascal Donohoe has so far taken a strong line against breaches of the Lansdowne Road agreement, and had persuaded most public service unions to sign up to gradual pay restoration to pre-crisis levels.
The question for all the political parties is whether the limited fruits of recovery should now be spent providing better public services or giving more pay to public servants?
It should never be forgotten that the fundamental reason for the imposition of austerity measures in 2009 and the years that followed was because public spending vastly exceeded the revenue the State was able to generate through taxation.
The pressure to bring public service pay back up to pre-crisis levels is another indication that Irish society has learned little or nothing from the crash, and is on a headlong course to repeat the mistakes of the past.
The major political parties have contributed to the delusion, with Fine Gael pinning its colours so strongly to eliminating the Universal Social Charge and Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin promising to abolish water charges.
The effect has been to create a very lopsided income tax system in which almost a third of workers pay no income tax at all, while middle and higher income earners pay relatively high rates of income tax.
Minister for Jobs Mary Mitchell O’Connor was publicly slapped down by Taoiseach Enda Kenny over a leak from her department suggesting a lower rate of income tax for returned emigrants. While the proposal is not tenable it reflected the difficulty the Irish tax system creates in attracting back skilled emigrants on good incomes.
That is a direct response to the theme of fairness which dominated the election debate. The danger is that more public spending won’t necessarily improve public services.
There are incessant demands for more funding for the health and education sectors but there seems to be little appreciation in those sectors that serious reform is required to ensure that extra resources actually deliver better services.
What is needed is the political will to insist that extra resources are accompanied by reform.
Wow. It’s all in there. Did he miss anything, any trope at all of the last ten years?