A party of national interest is required

Excellent letter in today’s Irish Examiner

We need party of national interest

Minister O’Reilly must be congratulated for his wisdom in announcing that the “burden” of cuts must fall on the “better paid” and not the sick and vulnerable.

However, for some strange reason he appears to have difficulty identifying the “better paid”. He, like the rest of his colleagues to date, seem to be searching for them in the wrong places.

His peers in the previous administration lacked the same powers of detection. Could it be that things ‘too close cannot be observed’ as the poet said? It might help Mr O’Reilly if he started by looking at the pay and expenses he and his colleagues enjoy and make comparison with the going rates in other European countries.

He might also factor in the size of our country and economy and the fact that we are effectively bankrupt and dependent on the benevolence of the ECB and the IMF. If he writes it down on two columns, it might help him to focus his mind.

To help him get underway, I suggest he make a sort of remuneration league table of heads of government worldwide. Where would the noble Enda come, he who so graciously accepted a pay cut of €20,000 that brought his salary down to a mere €200,000, leaving him with just over €70,000 or so more than the British and Swedish prime ministers, and even twice as well paid as the prime minister of Spain.

After that he can look at top professionals like doctors and administrators in the health service and compare them, like with like, with their European colleagues.

Only then, and when he and his colleagues do the right thing and the necessary thing, should they take their search for the “better paid” further afield.

Indeed if he really took this exercise with the seriousness it warrants, he might find himself considering a far more important point, which is the inexplicable quiescence of the Irish people in the face of two successive governments who stand unrivalled in modern times for their cowardice, crass insensitivity, greed and sheer neck.

There is a lethal vacuum in Irish politics at the moment, one that should be feared by both government and opposition. It cannot be filled by commentators and pundits.

The country is crying out for a new movement in politics, a party of national interest, that will field candidates in local and national elections and bring something back to Irish politics that seems to have died with the rise of Charles Haughey — a moral compass.

Margaret Hickey
Co Cork