For all that the naysayers and history revisionists may say, it’s accepted by the vast majority of citizens that those who fought in the 1916 insurrection wanted a better Ireland – one they were willing to fight and die for. They were willing to offer up their lives for an ideal. And how far have we travelled away from that idealism? The only thing people are dying to do now is to get a top job in the NTMA.
And why wouldn’t they? The new top man at the NTMA is to be paid a salary of €480,000 plus plenty of perks, some 15 per cent more than his predecessor. Talk about taking a big fat finger and sticking it up the noses of, what Socialist TD Joe Higgins calls, ‘ordinary working people’, or as we at ISME say, ‘you and I’.
No one knows the country’s P&L account better than the NTMA. They know that we continue to borrow €600 million a month to keep the ‘Open’ sign up outside the country. But the sign outside the NTMA seems to read ‘Business as Usual’ – and in a republic they look after themselves right royally. So why is the NTMA chief being paid €480,000 when the ECB president gets an annual salary of €374,124 and the US Fed’s chairman gets a €151,000 salary?
At ISME we say that if you create it you take it. If you are a successful entrepreneur and you make a million, that million, less taxes, is yours for the keeping. However if you are a manager of a State body you are a necessary cost to the State. But who says that the cost should be tipping half a million a year? The argument is frequently made that you need big money to attract the right calibre of people. How come the world’s most successful economy can attract a chairman to the Fed for half what the Republic of Ireland has to pay to attract a public service manager?
And then there’s the 15% pay rise. Who allowed that? The Dept. of Finance? Why? Who felt the salary had to be upped further, while employers of smaller enterprises across the country struggle to keep their wages at a level so as to keep their doors open. Hasn’t the NTMA done the unions a great service by handing them a great case study that will be used against small employers for not giving wage rises that they can ill afford? Remember the NTMA doesn’t make the wages it has to pay. And as it is the sole manager of the State’s money it’s hard to know if they’re doing a good job or not – unless they look in the mirror and pat themselves on the back.
Obituaries of those who sacrificed themselves in 1916 and beyond, to achieve self-determination for all of us, used to state ‘they had done the State some service’. However as we approach 2016 it seems that future obituaries will have to be altered to say of those who sacrificed nothing but took everything, that ‘they did themselves some self-service’.