Budget 2010: Public Sector Pay

The government has cut public sector pay in the budget. A description of these cuts is available on page 27 of this document.

Pay has been cut by 5 percent for low earners gradually rising up to 8 percent for those earning €125,000. The cuts stay at 8 percent between €125,000 and €165,000 and €175,000. Those earning between €175,000 and €200,000 have cuts of 12 percent and those earning over €200,000 have cuts of 15 percent. An Taoiseach Brian Cowen gets a special cut of 20 percent.

Annex A of the document linked to above also described the cumulative cuts for different classes of workers, including public sector workers. To give one example, a public sector worker earning €75,000 in a one-income household with two children over 6 years of age has had a total reduction in net pay since last year’s budget of 18.2%. The comparable figure for a similar couple in the private sector was 5.4%.

I know there are many who will feel that these cuts have been too extreme. More interesting, I guess, is whether those who favoured cuts in public sector pay now think that this is enough or think that the government should come back and cut public pay some more.

63 thoughts on “Budget 2010: Public Sector Pay”

  1. Crucially, the knock-on effects on current public sector pensions that would normally occur have been put on hold while the DoF thinks about whether index-linking (rather than pay-linking) public sector pensions makes sense. Of course it makes sense. But why does index-linking in the future have any implications for cutting now? Am I missing something? (Other than the please-god-not-another-grey-protest motive?)

    Anyone know what the savings would have been if PS pensions had been cut too?

  2. Hi Karl

    As a PS worker with a PS partner, (no, I am not a guard!) I find the cut steep, but more than likely necessary.

    But, I think that they should have shown the balls to deal with the pensions of the PS, rather than leave it for the next crowd.

    Surely, the most important question is will it do what it was designed to?
    Can I get back to work, and not be looking over my shoulder for round II?

    Al

  3. There’s a potential anomaly in the way the cuts are structured, and that is around the large number of job-sharers in the public sector.

    Does someone on half-time job-share with a 60k wholetime equivalent salary suffer a 5% cut (on their actual salary of 30K) or a cut of 6.25% (on their notional full salary of 60k)?

  4. Not sure I see your logic there Tommy.

    Should we deny job-sharers the progressivity inherent in the tax system and pension levy also?

  5. I do not know where this figure of 5.4% reduction for the Private Sector comes from because it is total rubbish. My income was cut by 22% in 2008 and it is looking like a reduction of 15 – 20 % this year. I am one of many in the Private Sector just happy to be still earning and working. There are 300,000 more Private Sector workers on the Live Register. Thousands more have emigrated. Do they not count as having taken a pay cut ?

    Agree with Al that Lenihan should have had the balls to deal with the Pensions issue in the PS now. The present regime on PS Pensions is unaffordable particularly for a country running a 20 + Billion annual deficit with an actuarial Pension liability of 108 Billion.

  6. As a formally motivated if also formally well paid public servant, I would like to tell all you private sector propagandists for neoliberalism I will be taking my first uncertified sick leave day tomorrow. You know the one, all the ones that you private sector assholes wrongly attributed to most of us bloated wasters in the service of the public. I feel ill health dogging me for the rest of my dead end career. We have been raped and pillaged by the media and the government this year. You will get the public service you deserve. You will also get the private sector you deserve also….350,000 hard working people holding onto whats left of their salary to spend in another country.

  7. I’m a public servant also and am very peeved about this reluctance to maintain the link on the pension side. A retired Principal Officer with full 40 year service will be on a 54% pension from Jan onwards. Pure politics. Suppose Lenny and chums aren’t too worried about who will vote for FF in 2025..

  8. Total GDP decline is about 13%, public sector workers have lost 14% or so in the cut today and the levy. It is remarkable and unprecedented that people in sectors where demand is constant have lost more than the average economy decline. Like Ray above some people in the private sector may have had big cuts, but two thirds of the private sector have not had a pay cut at all.

    The situation re public sector pensioners is bizarre. A worker has had an extra 2% cut or so overall (cut & levy) so that a pensioner on the same income will not have to have a cut at all. Given that the worker is on balance more likely to have lost children’s allowance, to have a mortgage etc this is not fair.

  9. I wonder would the answer have been any different had I couched my question above in terms of a prison officer or junior doctor who earns 50k basic, but doubles that in overtime.

    Would they be hit with a 5% cut (based on their notional salary) or 7.5% (based on their total earnings of 100k)?

  10. @ George

    As a fellow public servant I would say to you about your pension concerns – if you want a bigger pension you will have to fund it yourself through your own additional contributions – the same as what most people in the private sector have to do.

  11. @George

    54%?

    Its much more than that! They also wouldn’t pay pension levy or superannuation on their pension, and the tax take would be much smaller that half too.

  12. As the dust settles from todays budget, may I appeal to the citizens of this state to wake up and wake up quickly. Is it not now at least abundantly clear that since the birth of this “republic” our political classes and in particular Fianna Fail have failed to serve any citizens real interest save the wealthy business classes, the powerful politicians and the clergy?

    They may at times have hood winked us all, throwing us a few left over morsels of Moolah from the dirty deals that stank out the body politic and the business community. But in the main the political classes colluded with the business classes to enrich the few and yoke the many. Over the years the concept of the public good was prostituted for private gain to leave a country with little public space and few genuinely accessible services (save at high cost). Real opportunities were denied to all save those in a closely knit and incestuous golden circle. For the rest it was poverty or emigration.

    The final act in the destruction of civic society was the “celtic tiger”. This was no more than a vile and crass pyramid scheme orchestrated by Fianna Fail, the bankers, and the developers. It is telling how the doyen of the age “Bertie” saw the collapse of the scheme coming and like a good crook skulked away into the night before the house of cards collapsed.

    The final perversion is revealed in yesterdays budget. It is clear that those who are responsible for bankrupting our state will pay no real price. It is the victims of their avarice, the average hard working citizens of this Island who will be made to pay a dreadful and unjust price for generations to come. How great the pain in the callous removal of income from the vulnerable, the unemployed and the demonised public servants now struggling to rear their families in this moral wasteland. How little the pain in the derisory demand of 200 K made on the Irish Billionaires toasting NAMA from the riviera.

    Yesterday is the stark and brutal culmination of a gradual homage to neoliberal economics over the last 30 years. Ireland is now a neoliberal crucible where all but the very wealthy will be abandoned to ravages of a deeply inequitable economic system.

    Now is the time we must all stand together. We must see through the divide and conquer rhetoric spewed out by the ruling classes via mainstream media outlets over the last few years. We must resist our vicious elites plans for us all to race to bottom. I call on all workers, public or private sector, the unemployed, the students, and all citizens of this vile and corrupt state to say enough is enough. Those still employed must consider total and indefinite withdrawal of all labour. We must all consider direct action and social agitation. The price may be high in the short term but in the long term this current system offers nothing for current or the future generation of Irish citizens.

    We have been left in a failed state by the political and business classes. They should be given no more time to drive us all further down the plughole. It is time to take this country back from their greasy gombeen grip.

    We must do our patriotic duty and take back our republic from the privileged and powerful few who seek to reduce us all to penury and servitude.

  13. The notion that the private sector workers pay for the salaries of Public sector workers is wrong for two reasons.

    1.In a Constitutional Republic taxes are raised in accordance with powers outlined in the Constitution which also states clearly who has the power to to spend those taxes.In our case money bills can only originate in the Dail and the Oireachtais must vote on any money raising or expenditure bill.
    The people have the right to elect representatives to legislate those bills.
    If as many seem to believe that those in the private sector pay PS salaries then Public Servants are indentured slaves and not citizens in a democratic republic.

    2.Taxes are raised from several subheads,VAT,CGT,income taxes ,excise,EU transfers etc.
    The combined intellectual and productive capacity of the country is what produces the wealth to produce taxes.
    For example teachers teach children who 15 or 20 years down the line will be productive contributors to the country.

    The drive to demonise the PS will in my opinion become counter productive if the hatefest continues.How many of those people demonising the PS voted for FF each election?
    FF are the party responsible for expanding the PS .
    In Ireland the FF propoganda machine has convinced the mob to blame the Frankenstein Monster rather than that which crested it.

  14. @ Sean O

    While I would like to see the banking executives responcable for their slice of our current problem thoroughly molested by the cab, gardai, chur…..;
    and see the bank bailouts as unjustifiable and figleafs covering our national impotence;
    I would still argue that this cut (though a little less would hve suited me) needed to happen.
    Can we get back to work?

    Al

  15. Al :

    With respect all you have said is repeat back the sentiments I express.
    I would reiterate that until all citizens are treated as such by the government in power ( I dont mean equality of outcomes) then the progression of societal breakdown here will intensify.

    If the banksters are nt made to face the justice system,if NAMA is not destroyed then we will not exist as citizens of a Constitutional Republic.
    We will be a rabble of feuding tribes; private sector workers seeing Public sector as parasites etc.

    It might now be appropriate to ask why we have a Dail at all given the role the ECB now has .
    Monetary power rests soley with the EU and effectively Fiscal power resides with them too as the parameters of this budget was laid down by them to the FF government.
    NAMA too exists as an off balance sheet item courtesy of the ECB.

  16. Karl

    Is it not clear that many of those who advocated severe pay cuts for the public sector did so not only from a rational approach to correcting the public finances. Much of what is written on this website, and spoken on the airwaves, is driven by a strong ideology. It is clear that those espousing this ideology intend not to waste this crisis. You can be sure that more cuts will be called for.

    One thing that would be interesting to learn from those taking such a position is whether they would agree to the publication of all tax returns so that people could make judgements about who gets paid what. Markets work best with transparency. The lack of transparency about private sector incomes clouds many an issue, more than likely to the benefit of those calling for public sector cuts.

    Is it not also clear that public service pension arrangements will be challenged more strongly in the coming year? Reducing the quality of these pensions will create a larger market for the pensions industry.

  17. I have a question. When public sector workers retire from next year onwards, will their pensions reflect their new, lower wages? If so, then you would have the absurd spectacle of two workers having worked 40 years, ending at the same grade, having paid the same into the system, ending up with different pensions. Can that possibly be right?

  18. Part of the need, i suspect, for larger cuts at the lower level than many would have thought, is the optics. A very large number of ps workers now can go to the pub or the shops and be seen to have taken significant cuts. That may assist in slowing or reversing the ps-privsec divide which has been very well manipulated. Political economy is where we are.

  19. The government never presented a logical case to the PS in accordance with the treatment one would expect to receive as a citizen of a Constitutional republic why their salaries were targeted in this budget.
    Instead they cleverly set up a beggar thy neighbour, private versus public conflict.
    The above assessment does nt negate the need for a pay cut .

    However the fallout from this set up conflict will ,in my opinion be longer lasting and more damaging than the pay cut itself will be to the PS.

    Expect a drift towards corruption in the civil service,lower efficiency,work to rule,higher number of sick days taken etc .I dont judge this to be right but I see it as an inevitable consequence.
    I think also this will embolden the GRA to take on the government now and strike action by the guards is now more likely than it was before yesterdays budget.
    I wonder what the response time will be to a call from a FF TD whose home is being robbed from the guards or how much care will be affforded family members of FF Td’s who find themselves sick in hospital.?

  20. @ Joseph,

    There will be trouble ahead. The PS will grind to a halt by “work to rule” action and the occasional “day of protest”.

    But nothing that clever Brian can’t handle. Good job he doesn’t drink Bass.

  21. @ George & dearg doom

    Having divided the public and private they now turn their attention to dividing the young from the old.

    They must have discovered the British Empire playbook in a dusty cupboard in the DoF. Divide and rule.

    Don’t you just love living in a Republic?

    Now when was the last time we had a Constitutional Referendum. Oh yes, that was Lisbon II.

    The Constitution obviously needs no further amendment.

    Still, Pat Kenny (€650,000 per annum) will explain everything to you.

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    One thing is clear to me. No politician should be entitled to a pension until they reach pensionable age. If that requires a Constitutional amendment then so be it. If hardship is an issue they can queue up at the office of there nearest Social Welfare Officer like everyone else.

  22. @ Kevin o’Rourke.

    This is precisely what will happen, but not until Dec 31 2010. The Minister stated that the reduced pension allowance would not be applied for another year to prevent an uncontrolled exodus of near pension age workers from the public service in the next 3 weeks.

  23. @Tommy: thanks.

    It seems extraordinary to me. This is the kind of thing that really gets people worked up.

  24. As a public sector worker (about 21K p/a after yesterday I think) I am just relieved that there’s a bit of certainty again.

    Also, and this must sound terrible, I am relieved that social welfare is declining alongside my pay. The last budget was extremely hard, because the prices in my local shops went up in line with the increases on social welfare, while my pay was declining. The last 12 months have been very tight, and I have had to give up a lot of things I previously took for granted. At least now, i can expect the cost of living to fall in line with my paycuts which lessens the load considerably.

    Earlier this year, I worked out that if I defaulted on my mortgage, walked away from my flat and quit my job, i would be €20 better off per week with combined dole and rent allowance. I was also aware that some of my unemployed neighbours had visibly better spending power than I did with my full time employment.

    I don’t relish the reductions in social welfare, but I know that I have been sailing close to the wind financially and if this reduces the cost of living then it will balance out today’s paycut for me. I cannot but be relieved at this.

  25. @ school marm
    the overtime pay will be hit at the higher rate.

    There is a rule of thumb with half-time work. You get half of all the good things and twice all the bad things. For instance, after the recent strike day, half-time workers were deducted for 2 days non-attendance. I can’t see the logic in it, but it’s just how it’s done.

  26. @ Oscar,

    thanks for that. Now when you come back from coffee break and your sick day perhaps you could tell us how you would find 15billion to close the structural deficit.

  27. @school marm Agreed, I was talking about effect of yesterdays announcment alone.

    @holbrook fields – I wasn’t too concerned about my own pension, just the fact that the govt seem to view me as a current serving civil servant as less deserving than a previously serving civil servant. That cohort will end up being the ultimate beneficiaries of the folly that was Benchmarking I.

  28. @ Oscar

    “The final act in the destruction of civic society was the “celtic tiger”. This was no more than a vile and crass pyramid scheme orchestrated by Fianna Fail, the bankers, and the developers.”

    Ok, so if you think the Celtig Tiger was all a big pyramid scheme, than surely you realise that the tax receipts earned fom it (ie stamp duty, VAT and CGT on property, income tax from construction related activity etc) are also ‘fake’ and unsustinable. Given that the public sector pay and social welfare increases were funded and justified through these inflated fake tax receipts, doesn’t it make sense that we cut them back now???

  29. A deliberately divisive budget.

    Let the peasants fight over the scraps and borrow €85bn to “invest” in a bankrupt financial sector.

    Anglo Irish = €4.0bn
    Allied Irish & BofI = €7bn

    EBS = €0.4bn
    Nationwide = €2bn
    Anglo = €6bn
    Allied Irish & BofI = €7.2bn

    NAMA (at least) €60bn.

    To suggest that there is no connection between the fiscal deficit and the bank bailout is disingenuous at best.

  30. The union talks last week failed in part because they couldn’t agree on a way to cut 1.3bn from the public pay bill and the 1.3bn figure was widely reported as essential for the stability of the states finances. The announced public pay cuts only amount to about 1bn – why is this not seen as letting pay off easy? It seems the missing cuts will be made up in reduced capital spending and vaguely nebulous general spending by government departments (which I presume means reductions in service levels).

  31. People are inthrall to Lenihan. A lecturer friend of mine even as his wages are slashed… “where does he get all this energy from” he says, in a tone of voice that sounded alarmingly like admiration more than anything else. Got me thinking, my god, first of all they were fooled by Bertie and voted him in three times. Now, they admire Lenihan even as he slashes their salaries. I swear, they will vote for him too. Stockholm syndrome or what?

  32. I’m not sure if I accept Brian Lucey’s conjecture on the reason why the cuts went so low down the scale. In terms of optics, the public sector wanted to resist the cuts while the government wanted optics that would show them to be fair.

    When you combine the earlier PS pension levy with yesterdays cuts I’m not sure if fairness strikes the right balance. The pension levy was notoriously bungled with the belated recognition that though the headline percentage grew for higher PS earners it wasn’t enough to offset their higher marginal tax wedges so the effective cuts – on take home – were pretty much the same for someone on 30k as on 70k. (in the region of 4-5% I think)

    Look at yesterdays cut: someone – like Tommy Tighe on this page – who earns less than 25k will suffer a 5% gross cut. The earner on 70k will suffer 6.4%. In my opinion this level of ‘progressivity’ is too shallow.

    I understand why the government had to reach down to below 40k or even 30k earners: their share of the PS workforce is too great to not make some cuts at these levels. But it seems to me like the take-home cut is not progressive enough. In my opinion.

    Given the tax wedge you could well now have an earner on 30k taking a bigger – or at the very least equal – cut in take-home as the 70k earner when both levy and yesterday’s cut are taken into account (please correct if I’m way off on that.). If that is the case then for me there is certainly an issue of fairness.

  33. Those hoping for some easing from the demands of the Dublin Consensus are going to be disappointed. The hints from IBEC and their clients for a cut in the minumum wage are only the start of a narrative about ‘equity’ for those lucky duckies* whose small wages keep them out of the tax net.

    Here is my old debating partner Jim Power in today’s Indo:

    “What we need to do is to engineer a real depreciation in the value of the Irish euro. This can only be achieved by reducing the cost base of the economy and becoming more competitive vis-a-vis our international competitors.

    “This has to include lower wages at all levels in both the public and private sector; lower state charges in areas such as local authority charges and commercial rates; lower professional fees, including accounting, legal and medical costs; lower energy bills, lower consumer prices, and lower IT costs. Some of this can be achieved by public- and private-sector initiatives, and it is not just about costs. We need to improve our IT infrastructure and capability, education and training structures, and public- sector efficiency.

    “While trade-union leaders might argue that such a policy prescription represents a race to the bottom, the reality is that there is no choice if Ireland is to re-establish its export base.”
    http://www.independent.ie/opinion/analysis/jim-power-its-time-for-us-all-to-stop-bickering-and-start-building-for-the-future-1969467.html

    In case you are wondering, it is the same Jim Power who predicted in Feb 07 that:
    “The Irish housing market is still vibrant. There is still nothing in the overall data to suggest that the market is starting to experience a hard landing, and indeed the gradual slowdown that is occurring in the overall market is to be welcomed and does suggest a stronger degree of sustainability in the longer-term.

    “In 2007, house completions are likely to ease back towards 85,000 units, while national average house prices are likely to increase by around 5%, less than half the rate of house price inflation seen in 2006.

    “The death of the Irish housing market is grossly exaggerated”
    http://www.friendsfirst.ie/artman/uploa … feb_07.pdf

    I know it is a cheap shot, just some light relief for the day that’s in it.

    *for more on lucky duckies; see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucky_duckies (context)
    http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110002937 (original)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:LuckyDuckyComic.png (cartoon)

  34. The Budget’s exclusion of high-level public service pensions from the adjustment to public service pay is truly extraordinary. Those of us who retired before the last report of High Level Review Body were duly award the increases they recommended. We are now exempt from the cuts they recommend in the report to be published at the end of this week. That is neither fair nor logical.
    To illustrate what has happened, consider a highly-paid public servant (or University Professor, if you like) and a comparable pensioner with full service. Last year the pensioner’s after-tax pension was worth about 57% of the after-tax income of the still-employed person. This percentage has now risen to 66%.

  35. I think there should be no more wage cuts, in fact, some likely deserve a rise – but we need a way to gauge output and reward individuals for great performance which is something that group negotiation totally fails upon.

    There are offices full of town planners who have nothing to do, for them a wage cut is a benediction – their job shouldn’t exist any longer, then there are hospitals with staff working hard through the night, for them the wage cut totally disregards their continuous efforts, the real issue shouldn’t be pay, it should be reform, we simply have far to many people on the state payroll, keeping the levels of remuneration but creating a system that rewards performance over longevity and such is the answer.

  36. The fact that highly paid PS pensioners didn’t receive a cut has to be unfair in my book. These people generally have much lower costs than those of working age. Childcare and housing costs are normally minimal or non-existant.

  37. There’s one thing I know for certain about ireland; Your workrate and your pay level are inversely proportional. The truly wealthy people never have to do a tap to earn their money. Soft jobs are well paid, long hours are scarcely paid at all.

  38. @Oscar Pearse
    If you really want to strike at the government don’t take a sick day.
    Instead reveal details of government corruption and graft.

    Public service unions should issue a public declaration that they will stand fully behind public servants – past and present – who expose corruption, and will strike if attempts are made to discipline them. They should also insist that whistle-blowing is treated as a gigantic positive for their promotion prospects – as indeed it would be in an honest republic.

    Lenihan has villified you for months. You should hit him back where it really hurts – especially on NAMA. Otherwise you’re just accessories to a corrupt elite.

  39. @all
    to exemplify “The Budget’s exclusion of high-level public service pensions from the adjustment to public service pay is truly extraordinary” No, it isnt. That is , if you see it from an insider-outsider perspective. The drawbridges are being cranked up, the porticullises dropped. To them that has (organixed voting blocks) shall be given.
    Thats politics folks…

  40. @Oscar

    Spare us. Your own reps turned around last week and said that with a bit of tweaking (aka “reforms”) every public sector worker could take 12 days off per year and no one would even notice.

    Bankers aren’t the only ones with ethical issues in this country. The unions are managing to make Fianna Fail look good. That’s how bad it is now…

  41. I am currently retired from the Public Service and last year received my pension , will this be cut on me.

  42. There will be false information put out in the media now to pretend that the housing market has bottomed out. This is simply not true, the housing market has much further to fall so do not be fooled by the lies that the Government and their friends will try to have you believe. Buyer BEWARE, BEWARE. I HAVE STUDIED THE PROPERTY MARKET SEVEN DAYS A WEEK SOMETIMES TWELVE HOUR DAYS AND THE PROPERTY MARKET IS STILL IN BIB TROUBLE.

  43. Peter McLoone issued a statement on Wednesday which eneded:

    Peter McLoone issued a statement on Wednesday which ended:

    “All existing and former public servants must now mobilise to protect their incomes.”

    There wasn’t a word about the unemployed.

    Also on Wednesday, the head of General Electric, one of America’s greatest companies, spoke of the unemployed; the “meanness and greed” of his generation of business leaders and ,“ethically, leaders do share a common responsibility to narrow the gap between the weak and the strong. I have taken on the challenge to increase manufacturing jobs in the United States. These are the jobs that have created the midwestern middle class for generations. Manufacturing jobs paid for college educations, including mine. They have been cut in half over the past two decades.”

    GE chief attacks "meanness and greed’; Richest made most mistakes with least accountability; Bottom 25% of Americans poorer than 25 years ago

    Irish trade unions give the impression that their exclusive focus is on defending privilege.

    Just consider the challenge for the unemployed; in the decade to 2008, less than 4,000 jobs were added in the international tradable goods and services sector; Is 100,000 many new jobs to create? – – just about the number employed by all US firms in the country.

  44. @Maire

    For a long time student of the Property market I am really worried about the “BIB” trouble that you mention!!!!!!!!

  45. I have been out of Ireland since 2005 and I find it frightening that PS pensioners are now fair game . Kind of thought that once you retired it was a done deal . Wonder what else I will find when I return this xmas .

  46. @ Michael Hennigan

    The biggest mistake during the last 10 years to 2008 was that 75,000 more became employed in the Civil/Public Sector because of that ditherer Ahern who espoused Social Partnership which excluded indigenous businesses from the process and handed the reins of Power and our Taxes to the Public Service Unions.

  47. @Sarah Carey
    The party that refuses to investigate any bank except Anglo and even that one very slowly is being made look good by the trade unions? They are certainly being made look good by The Irish Times. I see very little outrage in your newspapers these days about the destroyers of the country: FF/Bankers/Developers. Public sector unions, like small-scale solicitors, auctioneers and builders, just got a share of the loot. It was FF & Co who made the real money. The newspaper of the famously high ethical standards – self ascribed – has been a dismal failure in this crisis. Reading your newspaper one would think that Brian Lenihan dropped straight from heaven and that the current government’s behaviour is not a continuation of its property mania and superwealthy stroking from the boom years.
    You would think that the superwealthy paid over 50% of their income in tax. The reality though is that Lenihan is hailing it as a tremendous victory that they will now pay 30%.

    Your newspaper’s stance on NAMA, which will lose us €65 Billion per Morgan Kelly: First you cheerlead for it then you appoint the second most vocal pro-NAMA partisan to be your budget commentator. That says it all.

    But if The Irish Times has been bad RTE has been much, much worse.
    All the other media have not done badly, given that they are owned by oligarchs. They have not campaigned against NAMA – but they have extensively covered its drawbacks and many of their journalists have opposed it.

    The most utter media failures regarding the bank/developer collapse and the gigantic bailout for them and the bank investors that is NAMA have been RTE and The Irish Times. You should have lead the campaign against it. Instead you have supported it. The hypocrisy of your stance on public sector workers is on a smaller scale but similarly offensive.

    http://www.politics.ie/media/119870-irish-times-pss-fair-weather-friend.html

  48. @ Alan

    In 2007, two former Dublin City Mangers got 36% hikes in their big pensions because the pay of the incumbent was raised.

    Now that the incumbent has to give back part of the increase, his predecessors are allowed keep the manna from heaven; ditto for many others.

    The majority of private sector workers have no occupational pension – – and for the ones who do, they are increasingly linked to the vagaries of the stockmarket.

    Managed funds returns to Nov for 10 years, had an average annual return of 0.5% – – inflation was in the range 4 to 5% in much of the period.

  49. Micheal Hennigan , I accept your points . However once you retire its a done deal . Index linked reform for these pensions is fine . But making pensioners pay for the gross incompetance of the Irish government is a bit much .
    There seems to be a vengeance against the PS which is kind of scary when you consider that we had the same party in government from boom to bust .

    I have just spent $ 80,000 AU on a visa for my parents . My 74 year old retied Garda Dad is frightened that FF will get their hands on his modest savings so that they can give it to Anglo . I will also spend many thousands more on his medical expenses as he is going blind . As guess what ? He is on a waiting list in Ireland .

    I think rather than wondering why they did not cut PS pensioners the people of Ireland would be better off thinking about why they think a bunch of school teachers can run an economy .

    I am kind of surprised that somebody like you would fall for the public / private misdirection .

  50. @E65Bn

    So its the fault of the Irish Times that 10 years of Fianna Fail government delivered the greatest shock to the electorate – that they’d let the developers on the lifeboats first? And after that the PS pensioners earning more now than they did when they were working?

    When the fools were lining up to vote for back bench fodder for Ahern and Cowen WHAT DID THEY THINK WAS GOING TO HAPPEN?

    I swear, ending secret ballot is the first item on my list…….

  51. @ Alan

    “However once you retire its a done deal“

    If you have a private pension or a pension provided by a private sector employer there is no such thing as a done deal. If the fund becomes insolvent you either get a reduced pension or nothing.

    It’s only a “done deal” if you die before the pension fund goes bust (as many will).

    Public Service pension liabilities are unfunded. They the biggest lie that western governments have peddled for the last 50 years.

    The 7% that is being “confiscated” from PS workers is not even being invested in a fund. It’s being used to pay for current pension liabilities.

    Boy are public servants going to be pissed off in 20 years when they find out that the State is a busted flush. According to Eoin the current level of unfunded pension liabilities is €105bn. As the government intends using the pension levy to fund current liabilities the unfunded liability can only grow.

  52. @Sarah Carey
    It may shock you but yes I am outraged by what FF have done. Allowing the bubble to inflate so wildly was disastrous. What really damns them though is their refusal to accept responsibility after it burst and the blanket bank guarantee which put the entire country at risk to protect the mega developers with links to Anglo (we need a thread on Lenihan’s admission about the dire state the bank guarantee left us in). It is even more outrageous to see them spend €54 Bn to have the banks write down these loans and sell them to a pet state agency who will “work with the developers”. They should translate that into latin and make it the motto. Finally, to see that only one of our rotten banks is being investigated, while all the other ones are barely changed since their mass insolvency, is appalling. Unlike the mega developers I would have thought the bankers were expendable, but maybe there is some honour among the thieves.

    The Irish Times in their news, opinion and editorial sections have been really dreadful on this. The business journalists and columnists have been good. I know that you and Fintan O’Toole have opposed NAMA as is. But overall the paper has utterly failed to lead the campaign against corruption, has colluded with the government in it’s campaign to divert public anger onto the public sector and has supported the continuing bailout of the developers and bank investors.

    Your editorial says it all, “A time to grin and bear it”. The public will do that, but they expect our newspapers to never let the people who caused this mess forget it – including Brian Lenihan. I know that you are not part of our establishment but blaming the public for who it elects does not excuse our elite.

  53. @Sarah Carey
    I am putting you in an invidious position so I will express my views about your newspaper elsewhere in future.

  54. @ E65

    Does she own the newspaper?
    If I was an Anglo employee posting here would I be expected or able to represent it?

    Al

  55. @ E65bn

    “Your newspaper’s stance on NAMA, which will lose us €65 Billion per Morgan Kelly”

    You do realise the crass stupidy of critisising a newspaper that is actually the public outlet for, eh, Morgan Kelly, right? Please tell me you do? There’s a lot of additional stupidity in your diatribe against Ms Carey, but lets at least start with the biggest part. If it wasn’t for the IT there are an awful lot less people who would know about the opinions of either Morgan Kelly or the “46”.

  56. @ E65bn

    ““Your newspaper’s stance on NAMA, which will lose us €65 Billion per Morgan Kelly””

    Btw, that is a complete lie, and you know it. Morgan Kelly said no such thing. You’re adding up what he said and what some other people said, and putting the sum of those opinions down as his one opinion. This is all the more hilarious as some time back in the day you suggested that there would have to be a “discount” on my opinions (fairly sure that was the exact line) on this site. In reality you’re actually the one spouting sh1te.

  57. @ALL
    You have to type “Lenihan ….” into the search engine of irishtimes.com to retrieve Morgan Kelly’s article. Google produces far more comments along these lines.

  58. @ E65bn

    its a fairly basic question: does Kelly, anywhere, say that NAMA will lose 65bn? Do any of HIS calculations by themselves add up to 65bn? At least have the balls to ‘fess up when you’re peddling tosh. Kelly doesn’t even say that NAMA ‘will’ lose 35-40bn, he simply says that if the Japanese situation were to occur here, than thats how much it would lose.

  59. @ E65bn

    “we don’t want to drive her away”

    And whats this “we” business? You’re creating this situation all by yourself. No need to offer adivse to the rest of us.

  60. @Eoin
    Eoin: “Morgan Kelly said no such thing.”

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2009/1013/1224256508947.html

    Instead of taking your word let’s look at what Morgan Kelly himself wrote:

    “A less futile exercise is to ask how much Nama would have cost at the end of similar credit-fuelled price bubbles. A decade after their peaks, Tokyo land prices had fallen by five-sixths, while Irish farmland, adjusted for inflation, had fallen by three-quarters. Had Brian Lenihan bought €77 billion of either, applying the proposed Nama discount of 30 per cent, he would have lost €35 billion-€40 billion on our behalf, or roughly €20,000 per taxpayer, and that is before adding interest…
    Once the ECB slams the window on its fingers, the Government will be forced to borrow at market rates of 5 per cent or more. In the next decade, this will add another €25 billion or so to taxpayers’ losses from Nama.”

    €35Bn plus €25 Bn is €60Bn – using Japan and using Irish farmland in the seventies, which seems a pretty good comparison.
    Add the €5Bn wasted on finishing projects in a hugely oversupplied market and you get….€65 Bn.

  61. This is the first time I have commented here. I am amazed at the fact that all the blame for this reactionary budget – reactionary in its treatment of the worse off in our society – is laid only at the feet of FF. Have people forgotten that they are in coalition with the Green Party. This is a party which political scientists in TCD lablled ‘Left-Wing’. Maybe they were up until they joined the coalition. I saw that they lost 500 members last year, but 400 new people joined. My guess is that these are people, probably young professionals, who would normally joint FF but being ‘green’ is cool. Where were the Greens when this budget was being framed? Certainly not at the table arguing the case for the poor or Overseas Development Aid.

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