Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bits and Bobs

With Lisbon done and dusted, what else is there to talk or write about? Don’t worry; we’re never short of something to jaw about in this country, and before we leave Lisbon completely behind, forgive me for passing some more comment about it. When an important topic is up for discussion the anti brigade is very often made up of chancers and go-boys who are usually ‘agin’ everything. It’s a way of getting recognition and attention and one wonders sometimes just how dedicated they are to the cause they espouse to uphold. But Lisbon was different; plenty of brains and intelligence on both sides of the divide, which made me, sit up and listen to the various debates that kept the airwaves and daily papers busy. Nevertheless I stuck with my original thoughts and voted Yes, for the very simple reason that I still shudder when I think of how we were before Europe came to our rescue. For the majority it was a case of snag turnips, foot turf, or emigrate. Those of us who were lucky enough to avoid those choices were not much better off, for to put it plainly, this country hadn’t a pot to piss in until Europe came to our rescue. The European Union is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but until something comes along that’s better, I’ll stay with it warts an’ all, rather than live in isolated poverty.
So what else is new? Well browsing through a Sunday paper I came across a page that had photos of eight of our top earners, all working within the public service. Some of you may have seen them. “No such thing as recession for top brass in civil service” screamed the headline. The total amount these guys were earning was staggering to say the least. The poorest was only getting €361,000 per year while the richest was getting €700,000. Fancy having to struggle on that kind of pittance! Oh, and I nearly forgot, all got car allowance, and none of these cars were your ordinary banger. No sir, top of the range Audi or Merc. With that kind of salary wouldn’t you think that they could put their hand into their own pockets and purchase a car, but why should they when someone from up above dictates that the ordinary tax payer purchase one for them. I would love if one of those guys got in touch just of explain as to how they manage. Maybe they’re like Pee Flynn; remember Pee who told Gay Byrne the struggle it was to keep three houses going. And then we have that poor little rich guy who had to take a dive from the top spot in Fάs and all because he was too pally with government ministers wining and dining them and their spouses. But no matter, he was handsomely looked after with a generous pension. He was a real decent bloke and fired himself, thus saving embarrassment to the government, who should have been doing the firing. The Bull from Kerry, the bould John O’Donoghue has also made headlines. A helicopter ride here, a taxi ride there, partying to beat the band, to hell with expense the show must go on.
The public sector workers, or more correctly, those speaking on their behalf are also making noises. Jack O’Connor of Siptu is seeking a pay rise for his members. Some chance. Biffo and Co made some deal a year ago with them. So much then, the balance to come now, I think was the arrangement. In the meantime the Celtic Tiger’s roar has become a whimper so sing a little less on the high note Jack and get in line. Incidentally I wonder what the pay and perks for trade union officials are? This being the transparency age could we see a published list, similar to the one for the top brass in the civil service?
If nothing else, this recession should have us all singing from the same hymn sheet, or put another way, hang together or hang separately! Is it too much to ask? Jeffers.

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