Colm McCarthy sums up the case for a third benchmarking exercise in his Sindo column. Read the whole thing, but this quote more or less sums it up:
The case for dismantling them is simple. The employer is bust, the good times are over and the financial stability of the State is on the line.
There are pros and cons to Colm’s argument, and second order effects to any change in public sector pay, just to pick two: given that the ESRI estimated in 2010 that for every €1 billion in public sector cuts, consumer spending falls by approximately €750 million. Our household debt levels are some of the highest in the world, so large drops in public sector pay might well lead to a spate of defaults. But a benchmarking exercise seems like a very sensible way to proceed in my opinion.