herald

Wednesday 13 December 2017

You're not one of us, Enda, till you give up the perks

WE are all in this mess together right? I mean Enda said so.

I kinda bought into this mission statement for a while. Then Enda personally interferes to secure a €35,000 pay increase for a Government advisor, Ciaran Conlon. This broke all the Government's own guidelines. The Taoiseach's rousing state of the nation speeches seemed hollow after this.

I know Ciaran and I would employ him tomorrow morning as an adviser if I had the bread. He is seriously good at what he does and is a decent man, despite some of the press coverage. But that's not the point.



Depressing

That €35,000 pay increase would put a nurse in a hospital. It would employ a special needs assistant who could make a huge difference to children's lives and futures. The money is ours to spend, not Enda's. Kenny, though, used it like it was his party's. That is what is so depressing.

And the Government's reaction to the criticism was just as cynical. Pure spin guff.

These sort of actions are a danger to how we see democracy in this country. Why? Because they generate cynicism and apathy in equal measure. We know now that we are not all in this together. Look at your friendly banks. Any mortgage relief they grant will be borne by other customers. Once again, we are not all in this together. The banks also try to break pay limits for their bosses.

These gombeen institutions brought us down, but now you and I have to pay their inflated salaries.

Only in Ireland could you get away with this. Sometimes I wish we had some French or Greek resistance in us.

Wherever you are in this country, you will have suffered. It might be through social welfare cuts, pension cuts, salary cuts, job loss or increased indirect taxation. Think about the pensioners who had the life scared out of them over tax issues. Now think about the millionaires who avoided paying any of the domicile levy imposed on them by the Government. We are all in this together. Right? I want to give credit to the Government for their initiatives on finance for small businesses. Kudos also to Enda and the civil servants who helped set up the Chinese visit. But all this is undermined when Government parties give jobs to their mates.



Baloney

Is Enda's lifestyle affected by the cuts? You, as a taxpayer, give €13m via State funding to the parties. FG gave Enda a nice €50,000 out of these funds when he was opposition leader. We wouldn't know this were it not for the journalists who broke the story. We did, though, hear plenty from the spin doctors about how Enda took a pay cut, was walking to work and all that baloney.

Hell, I'd skip to work if I was on his bread.

If the Government is serious they should take back Ciaran Conlon's €35,000 pay increase and create a new job with it. Enda should give the €50,000 party leader pay increase back to the public funds and create another two jobs with it.

Maybe then we might just get the feeling that we really are all in this together.

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