Bruton under investigation: No worries

I see former Taoiseach John Bruton is being investigated by the European Commission regarding his acceptance of his job at the IFSC (Irish Independent).

The Commission claims Mr. Bruton should have informed them of his new job since it is less than two years since he left his position as the EU’s ambassador to the US.

Mr. Bruton said he was completely unaware that he had an obligation to get prior approval from the EU.

Is it credible that a former Taoiseach with long experience dealing with EU politics and law and subsequent years of service with the EU as ambassador was unaware of such a fundamental EU regulation?

It would be a bit like an Irish politician being ‘completely unaware’ of his pension rights.

Mr. Bruton is, however, unlikely to suffer any pain as a result of his ‘error’. EU officials are still on a steep learning curve regarding the relationship between Irish politicians and accountability.

One thought on “Bruton under investigation: No worries”

  1. Fine Gael has vowed to save 15 billion Euros yearly by benchmarking irish public service employees against their northern Ireland counterparts.Yesterday Mr Kenny announced,”we are the only party that has the courage to take on the public sector and close quangos.When elected we will re benchmarking civil servants pay downwards and bring it into line with UK wages for public servants”
    “Social welfare rates and Civil Service pay levels are far higher inthe Republic than in North” said Enda Kenny.
    “PUBLIC SECTOR pay rates are significantly higher in the Republic than in Northern Ireland, while there is also a comparable substantial difference in social welfare payments between the South and the North.” he continued.
    “Civil servants, politicians, hospital consultants, teachers and nurses are all better paid than their Northern Ireland counterparts on most rungs of the promotional ladder, while the exception to this rule are police services, with gardaí and PSNI officers broadly on similar rates. As politicians, commentators and the public debate the cost of public sector pay and social welfare in the current financial crisis, we in Fine Gael have examined public sector pay scales and social welfare entitlements on both sides of the Border .Our survey illustrates sizeable differences.”He continued.
    “The Department of Finance’s estimated public sector pay bill for 2010 is €16 billion, more than a quarter of the estimated Government budget of €61 billion. Estimated social welfare payments for 2010 are €22 billion, more than a third of the total Government budget. Combined public sector pay and social welfare payments amount to €38 billion, more than 60 per cent of the total budget.”
    Mr Kenny continued ,” Figures provided by the Department of Finance show the two best-paid civil servants in the South are Dermot McCarthy, secretary general to the Government and the Department of the Taoiseach, and Kevin Cardiff, secretary general at the Department of Finance. They each earn €228,466. As figures from the Northern Ireland Department of Finance and Personnel illustrate, the top rate of pay is potentially higher for Northern civil servants, the scale for permanent secretaries running from £98,059 to £205,000 (€115,050-€240,387).
    But no one in the North is near the highest rate. Bruce Robinson, head of the North’s Civil Service, receives between £150,000 and £155,000 (€176,542-€182,410). Most other Northern permanent secretaries earn between £100,000 and £120,000.
    Southern deputy secretaries earn €168,000 and while the scale for the Northern equivalent is £81,600 to £160,000 (€95,702- €187,638) no Northern civil servant has reached the higher levels of that scale. The difference in pay is also considerable further down the ranks.
    Southern politicians also pay themselves substantially more than their Northern counterparts. The Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, earns €228,466 compared to €134,436 for First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness. Government Ministers earn €191,417 compared to €94,959 for their Stormont counterparts. TDs earn €92,672 compared to €50,595 for Assembly members.
    Northern Ireland hospital consultants earn between €87,460 and €117,923, according to the North’s Department of Health – less than half of pay for consultants south of the Border. Rates for consultants in the South who do public hospital work only range from €184,455 as entrants to €241,539 at professor level.
    Northern consultants can also earn bonus-type payments for public work, but even taking this into account there is still a huge gap in consultants’ pay between practitioners on both sides of the Border. Moreover, most Southern consultants earn substantial figures from private work – much more than their Northern counterparts, according to Northern consultants.
    Southern staff nurses earn between €30,234 and €42,469, compared to a pay scale of between €24,856 and €32,521 for Northern nurses, according to the two health departments and nursing union representatives.
    The Department of Education in Northern Ireland was able to provide a clear statement of average payments for school principals (€65,867), vice-principals (€57,469) and teachers (€44,056), but the picture was less clear for the South.”

    Based on information provided by the Department of Education and teachers’ unions, the pay of teachers, on average, ranges between €55,000 and €60,000. Principals of 500-plus pupil secondary schools average between €95,000 and €105,000, while primary principals, who run smaller schools, on average earn about €67,000.
    The PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott bucks the trend by earning more than his Garda Commissioner counterpart, Fachtna Murphy – €227,290 against €197,625.
    On the welfare side, Southern pensioners receive €230.30 per week compared to €114.65 for Northern counterparts.
    Jobseekers over 25 in the South receive €196 per week compared to €76.82 for jobseekers over 25 years in the North.
    Child benefit for the first child in the South is €150 per month compared to a Northern figure of €103.29 per month.

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