Dec 05 2011

Irish Budget – Day 1

Category: EconomyTeknovis @ 10:42 pm

The Irish Government spent today announcing the first part of the budget – the spending cuts. I must admit that I am very disappointed with it. I was hoping for some creativity, some imagination, some willingness to confront the problems. Instead it consisted of minor tinkering. Perhaps this is to be expected from a government that is being lead by a primary school teacher :|

So where does the problem lie? Enda clearly identified it in his speech to the nation the other night (see Full text of Taoiseach’s speech):

Right now, the State is spending €16 billion a year more than it is taking in.

Yes – it really is that simple! The Government is spending too much money that it does not have! Most of this money is being spent on social welfare and the civil service.

So what is the Government doing to address this? Again, let me quote Enda:

The pay and pensions of senior public servants have been cut.

Excellent!

However, the reality of what is happening is very different. Indeed, one only needs to look at today’s media! For example, consider Controversy over pay rise for Govt adviser:

Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney has said he understood how people might find it difficult to understand how a Government adviser, Ciaran Conlon, could be paid a salary of €127,000 after a €35,000 pay rise following an intervention from the Taoiseach.

Now perhaps this could be justified if Ciaran Conlon was coming from the private sector, and he had skills that were essential to the Government. Unfortunately, his previous employer was Enda’s own party – Fine Gael :(

I will not claim to know if Enda’s actions in this matter are due to simple ineptitude or intended cronyism. Either way, Ireland deserves better!

However, this level of hypocrisy is not confined to politicians within the civil service.

Another measure announced in today’s Budget was a cut to teaching funding. Again, this is designed to try and reduce the excessive amount of borrowing that is being done to sustain an expensive civil service. The Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI), amongst others, has publicly denounced these measures (see Live – Budget 2012 and Cut in teacher numbers a disaster for schools – TUI):

The TUI has said a cut in teacher numbers will be a disaster for schools and said they would be “catastrophic” for the life chances of the most vulnerable.

The Association of Secondary School Teachers in Ireland (ASTI) also commented publicly on the cuts (see Live – Budget 2012 and Budget 2012 – education measures and ASTI reaction):

The ASTI says today’s Budget cuts mean the majority of second-level schools will lose one teacher and schools will see a reduction in funding for their day to day running costs.

It all reads very genuinely!

Unfortunately, neither organisation found the time today to comment on the cost to the Government of ensuring that over half their members get pay rises next year (see Pay rises on way for 50 per cent of teachers)!

Almost half of all teachers will receive pay increases next September of €1,000 to €3,615 a year, as guaranteed under the Croke Park agreement.

And:

The salary increments will cost €13.8m for 19,500 primary teachers, and a further €6.4m for 1,000 second-level teachers.

I guess the teachers are really more concerned that their salaries keep inflating at the expense of both the education system, and the private sector tax payers in Ireland. Shameful.

So yes, I am very disappointed that Enda and his colleagues have not taken any real measures to reduce the unsustainable Government spending that is occurring on both social welfare and the civil service.

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4 Responses to “Irish Budget – Day 1”

  1. MdlCn says:

    Shame about your Christmas shopping. Going out of my way to buy everything possible locally to keep my family and neighbours in their jobs. It would be a very practical way for those of us lucky enough to have jobs to contribute. Whining about the awful politicians and bankers does nothing for anyone. You obviously had a bad time at school!!! What’s this bout of teacher bashing about? You should really check out all the cutbacks in education before you do any more ranting.

  2. Teknovis says:

    @MdlCn – thanks for the comments.

    Good for you, and your Christmas shopping! I am all about choice, so I am happy that can choose to do your shopping as you want!

    I agree that whining does not achieve much. That is why I am doing my best to ensure that the least amount of my money goes into supporting the regime.

    I had a great time in school, I am not “bashing” anybody, and I am very familiar with education in Ireland :)

  3. John McCarthy says:

    I am absolutely amazed to see incremental pay publicised as a pay rise and how teachers in particular have been singled out in this piece of publicity or government spin. In the broader context many other workers in the public service are also getting incremental pay rises this year and many, many more in the private sector are also receiving incremental pay rises. So one has to ask, why are some teachers being singled out for publicity? One can only guess that it is the divide and conquer tactic of the present government to ensure that dog eats dog, and to distract away from the true causes of this economic collapse: reckless lending by foreign banks to Irish banks, reckless lending by Irish banks to property developers, reckless regulation by EU and Irish bank regulators, and criminal malpractice between the Irish banks. The government should constantly remind us of the causes of the economic collapse and should make more efforts to ensure that the economic criminals:EU and Irish banks, EU and Irish bank regulators, are held to account and pay for what they did, and not to continuously pillage and pillory the teaching profession and the public service in general.

  4. Teknovis says:

    @John

    “I am absolutely amazed to see incremental pay publicised as a pay rise”

    It is difficult to see how else it could be publicised. It is neither a reduction nor remaining the same!

    “In the broader context many other workers in the public service are also getting incremental pay rises this year”

    If this is the case then I agree that it should also be highlighted!

    “many more in the private sector are also receiving incremental pay rises.”

    I know far more in the private sector that have either lost their jobs, or taken pay cuts (two unknown concepts to the public sector).

    So what if some are lucky enough to get a pay rise? The private sector is not costing me as a tax payer anything! Furthermore, the private sector is not borrowing vast amounts of money that my children will have to pay back!

    “So one has to ask, why are some teachers being singled out for publicity?”

    Perhaps of the hypocrisy. I see another union in the news complaining about the classroom cuts today (again no mention of their pay increases).

    The public is waking up to the unfair privileged status that the public service has been given dduring this economic crisis!

    “… true causes of this economic collapse: reckless lending by foreign banks to Irish banks, reckless lending by Irish banks to property developers, reckless regulation by EU and Irish bank regulators, and criminal malpractice between the Irish banks. ”

    I agree with this to a certain extend. However, even if all the baking cots are removed, the Government’s expenditure still outweighs its spending on the civil service and social welfare.

    Regardless of the cause, the problem needs to be fixed! Presently, the burden is not being shared by the public service.

    I am taking comfort from the soundings coming from Labour over the last 24 hours that the Croke Park deal may need to be renegotiated.