However, that is not the case as far as Ireland is concerned. It is broke and it needs to be fixed. More importantly, it needs to be fixed now. Government, this one and the last, has been fiddling at the edges, hoping a tweak there and a tweak here will make it alright. This is not what is needed.
This current, clearly mismatched, coalition Government promised reform when it came into power. Unfortunately, it lost the appetite for the fundamental reform required when its members discovered they could get used to the largesse their predecessors bestowed upon themselves. It echoes George Orwell’s Animal Farm; we are all equal, but some are more equal than others.
How else can we account for a whole raft of people right across this economy, in both the private and public sectors, who are paid excessive salaries by any measure, whether internally or compared to their international equivalents. Indeed, that is even before without taking the associated bells, whistles, and considerable pensions and payoffs paid prior to retirement age are taken into account.
What must not be forgotten is that the damage to this economy was not done at the hands of the millions of taxpayers. It was as a direct result of the incompetence, corruption, malfeasance, and downright greed of a small number of particularly powerful people at the top.
However, the pain is for "everyone", while the gain was only for some.
The focus is on taking and then taking more and more from the ordinary citizens of this country — a case of squeeze them ‘til they bleed would appear to be the intent. It ignores the impact on the overall economy. It ignores the impact on individuals and families. It is not acceptable. In fact, it is downright wrong and immoral.
This economy will not be healed while there appears to be two Irelands. The first Ireland consists of those at the "top", who enjoy excessive salaries, perks, and generous pensions as well as a total lack of responsibility for anything negative that happens on their watch and no accountability whatsoever.
These folk are entitled, simply entitled, to maintain the standard that they have grown used to. The perception seems to be that it should not and cannot change.
The second Ireland consists of the millions of fellow citizens, many of whom are barely making ends meet. These citizens consist of the sick, the disabled, and the poor as well as the most maligned group of the lot, the middle income earner. Everywhere they go and everything they do costs more, and is going to cost even more. Tens of thousands are in mortgage difficulty. Yet what is happening?
While the ECB reduces interests rates, Irish banks increase it. While Government gives money to the banks to stimulate the economy, the banks cut lending to the private sector. While the Government borrows billions each year, it continues to pay salary increases and increments to public sector employees.
While senior civil servants and politicians continue to take their excessive salaries, lump sums, consolation money, and then early pensions, support for the disabled is reduced and home help hours for the elderly and the disabled are cut.
The unions are not only standing idly by but are complicit in what is happening. While Government continues to wallow in its incompetence, tens of thousands of our brightest young people are leaving these shores, many never to return.
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