“It’s not perverse, it is not in any way underhand and like anyone else in [the] civil service, teachers, Gardaí, etc, they have entitlements to increments based on years of service.”
And with those words, Tánaiste Mary Coughlan shredded whatever little credibility she had left with most of us, surely even among die-hard Fianna Fáilers.
She was commenting on Thursday last’s news that the 26 TDs and 12 Senators elected since 2002 will, to the bewilderment of the public, receive pay rises of €3,000 and €2,200 respectively.
Now cast your minds back to last November, when then FÁS Director General Roddy Molloy professionally hung himself when telling Pat Kenny about the expenses and perks he was “entitled” to.
The breathtaking arrogance displayed by Mr Molloy justly incurred the public’s wrath, as revelation after revelation broke about the squandering of public monies he oversaw. And upon his own sword did he fall. Good riddance to him.
The chances of the current Government winning a further term in office are about as likely as Gerald McCarthy and Donal Óg Cusack making amends right now.
And, irrespective of how bad things are economically, the sooner a general election is called, the better.
To watch the indefensible being defended by successive Government Ministers is all the more galling when one considers how they’re financially screwing teachers, nurses and Gardaí.
And if anyone dares to bleat on about any of the aforementioned jobs being ‘jobs for life’ etc, I say only this: those particular workers are our greatest and most critical public servants.
They educate our children, they care for our loved ones and they defend our State, the latter’s vitality swinging once more into focus following the callous murders north of the border.
And try telling the 40-plus primary teachers set to lose their jobs in Waterford that they’ve got jobs for life.
But what does our Government do to those who educate us, who care for us, who defend the security of our State? It hammers them. And for that alone, this current administration deserves the batttering it will surely receive come the next election.
The efforts that have been made by agenda-peddling politicians and certain sections of the media to divide the public and private sectors has been truly appalling.
It has, on occasion, taken the focus away from where the debate should be firmly and solely focused upon: the flagrant mishandling of the country’s finances under the current and previous Taoiseach.
The Government’s role in the Waterford Crystal story has been shameful. When a toxic dump like Anglo Irish Bank can be nationalised while a genuine trans-continental brand like ‘The Glass’ is left teetering into oblivion, is astonishing.
Of course one cannot nationalise every business that’s in trouble, but Waterford Crystal is one of a handful of Irish brand names known the world over.
The Crystal division of Wedgwood remained profitable, so it’s not as if any State money that might have been put into the factory could have been viewed by anyone as wasteful.
We await to see what KPS Capital has in mind for the Kilbarry plant, but if the Government had acted earlier, then the minds of hundreds of workers would be considerably more at ease than they are currently.
While some politicians look set to pocket more money, Waterford Crystal workers got their share of the hardship fund set up for them at the head of the crisis. Last Thursday, each worker walked away with €200. That’s right: €200.
That same day, 100 miles up the road, 38 members of the Oireachtas were receiving 11 or 15 times that amount of a salary increase. But there’s nothing wrong with that, according to Minister Coughlan. Why? Because they’re entitled to it.
And when one hears the second in command of an increasingly listless Government quoting from the Roddy Molloy playbook, we the people, be we private sector, public sector or unemployed are entitled to despair.