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Apartheid Alive And Kicking In Collin’s Ireland

Irish Apartheid

And he climbed with the lad up the Eiffelberg Tower.
“This” cried the Mayor,” is your town’s darkest hour!
The time for all ‘Whos‘ who have blood that is red
To come to the aid of their country !” he said.
“We’ve GOT to make noises in greater amounts!
So open your mouth, lad! For every voice counts!”

This verse comes courtesy of the great and late Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr Seuss) – from his children’s poem ‘Horton Hears A Who!’

Reported details of €40 Million in bonuses being paid to bankers sparked widespread anger among the fair minded people of Ireland in the past few days. Readers will be aware that while workers on the minimum wage are about to have their pay slashed, those employed by one of the institutions who assisted in bankrupting our country has been rewarded. This reward is being dished out in the very same week that our country, which declares in its Proclamation to support “Cherishing the children of the nation equally“, has been downgraded to junk yard status.

Bonuses should be awarded, based on how much revenue individuals attracts, while operating in accordance with accepted ethical, responsible and regulated banking practices. If we as a nation can take 4% from retired pensioners and break the ‘contract’ they have, we can most certainly extract 90% of the current bonus paid to individual bank workers. But history now teaches us clearly that inequality is core to the Irish model of government.

In the decade when we had most and when we quadrupled our spending on our public health services, Ireland’s current political leaders and their supporters failed spectacularly to reform our Irish health system, which presently allows an almost apartheid system to exist.

By apartheid, I mean, if you have money to pay privately, you can get into public hospitals quicker than public patients. You will receive treatment more quickly and you are guaranteed consultant provided care, while recuperating  in a single or semi-private room. In contrast a public patient is more likely to be viewed by a junior doctor and to remain in a multi-bed ward or on a trolley in a drafty hospital corridor.

Ireland is unique in Europe, in that we still permit private care to exist  in our public hospital system. We allow the wealthy to skip past in the queue, ahead of our poorer public patients.  The cost of the care of these private patients, passing through our public system, is largely subsidised by public money, while minimum wage patients remain verbally silent. This apartheid operated health system can also be seen clearly in our nursing homes, with two out of every three nursing home beds presently in the private sector.

We are well down the road of a privatised, double tiered provision of health-care which favours private patients over public patients, but we can undo the harm done and as citizens /patients, demand a quality and universal public health system to which we are all fully entitled too, under our constitution.

Our present government lives in fear of its public sector unions and work force and here apartheid also reigns. The cost of the public sector is currently €20 billion per annum and when their average 210 annual working days are divided into this €20 billion wage, the daily pay costs amount to around €95 million. Previously, the Department of Finance vowed to dock wages of public sector workers who would strike in protest over cutbacks. If even a fraction of public sector unions were to follow through on these threats to hold one day work  stoppages, those protesting workers would be hit in their pockets and the Government’s Coffers would be boosted by millions per day. Our next government must confront the public service and their unions, head-on and take back the control that this present gutless administration have surrendered.

We were recently informed that we have an Automated Fingerprint Integrated System (AFIS) that cost €20m lying idle. Extra civilian staff, hired by the garda were expected to run this system, but these 50 staff at the GNIB headquarters, who are members of the Civil and Public Service Union (CPSU), have now refused to operate this system, saying it is inappropriate for clerical staff to do a job that gardai should do. However they will work the system in return for extra allowances. Meanwhile, Gardai openly admit that they have no idea how many people, recently arrived into Ireland, are now claiming entitlements to social benefits, using fake identities.

Where is Berty Ahern’s ‘Towards 2016’ ?

Was Sustaining Progress and Towards 2016 a contract? What happened to the Civil Service Verification Document Section 28 ‘Modernisation and Flexibility’?

The parties to this Agreement will co-operate with flexibility and modernization ……….,
The Public Service Pay Agreement provides that payment of these (pay) increases is dependent, in the case of each sector, organisation and grade, on verification of co-operation with flexibility and ongoing change.
There will be situations where existing work procedures must be adapted to respond to work requirements and traditional methods of performing particular tasks will have to be changed.
Under the terms of Towards 2016, payment of each of the four public service pay increases is dependent on verification of satisfactory achievement in relation to co-operation with flexibility and ongoing change.

In the year 2000, the public pay bill was €6.6billion and by the 2008 Finance Bill, it had swollen to €19billion. Far from being forgotten, the public sector pocketed a massive €13bn of a pay rise in the period referred to as the Celtic Tiger. A clerical assistant, on the lowest pay level, with guaranteed employment, suffered few budget cuts, has a pension, flexible working conditions and earns over double the minimum wage at €19 per hour. By contrast, the Budget takes an appalling €40 per week from the average pay packet of workers on the minimum wage, which is or was €8.65 an hour.

So where does the buck stop, do we really need highly paid management and consultants attempting to run our country, if over funded, greedy unions, such as the CPSU, end up frustrating our efforts to progress as a nation.

Those on the minimum wage have no unions. They correctly don’t trust or cannot afford union subscriptions, so 1,200,000 workers who create the majority of this country’s wealth , are left to fend for themselves, while the CPSU and others look after its public sector gold mine. Social partnership never represented this 1.2 million. They remained naked of any political clout when compared with the public sector, and are now required to bear the brunt of our recent savage budget cuts, while public sector fat cats get off almost scot free, using  fear as a tool to control a weak and timorous present administration.

I remind our readers of a statement made public some time ago by Carlow Kilkenny TD  John McGuinness, then Fianna Fáil Minister for the Dept of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, when addressing the Beverage Council of Ireland’s annual conference.  He described the public service as “now so protected by its unions that it has largely become a reactionary, inert mass at the centre of our economy“. He also stated that  public service culture “destroys ambition, resists change, and is now so insulated from reality that information can be withheld from a Minister, unfavourable reports are doctored and answers to parliamentary questions are master classes in dissemination and obfuscation“.

It would appear that under this administration and its supporters, no one is minding the shop and the interests of taxpayers are being grossly neglected.

We have a chance to change this and we can start by ensuring that our names are on the Electoral Register, as very soon your vote can be used as a force for real change. We got what we previously voted into office.

Remember Dr Seuss: “We’ve GOT to make noises in greater amounts! So open your mouth, lad! For every voice counts!”

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