Blog news

Over the coming week, this blog will carry two interviews: one with Danny McCoy, Director General of the Irish Business and Employers Confederation (IBEC), and the other with David Begg, General Secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions. Both men are asked to comment on Ireland’s economic prospects, and on the relationships that exist between their organisations and the country’s universities. Danny McCoy expresses a guarded welcome of NAMA, while David Begg suggests we might look more closely at the Nordic countries in planning our future economic and social policies.

Over the following period, the blog will also feature interviews with Don Thornhill, Chair of the National Competitiveness Council and former Chair of the HEA, and Batt O’Keeffe TD, Minister for Education. In addition, the blog will feature a guest post by Tom Boland, Chief Executive of the Higher Education Authority.

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6 Comments on “Blog news”


    • Professor I,d like you to ask both of them a question. I would like to know how they can credibly argue for or against public sector reform when they both like most union officials salaries and terms and conditions of employment are linked to civil and public service grades.

      The reason I would like them to answer that question is, what we have is the unions (I include IBEC in that description, because in my opinion it is a union of employers) acting on behalf of civil and public servants, the government acting on behalf of themselves,all linked to the civil service pay grades, and recipients of benchmarking awards and the obvious benefits of being employed with public terms and conditions etc, shaping decisions about the economy while no objective independent persons are permitted to take part in that process.

      Therefore to my mind there is nobody from the private sector, that is part of those discussions, that are not directly affected by civil and public service pay grades, and terms of conditions of employment.

      I can see a situation developing where the people at the top will all nudge nudge wink wink their way into an agreement that does not affect them in any way, and the lower grades will be subject to all the bad news, which in turn will affect the level of public services to the public. The people on the frontline dealing with Joe and Joanne public will have to suffer the ire of the public for not receiving the level of services they are entitled to. Rte has a report today that it,s taking 22 weeks to get dole payments in Brian Cowens own constituency.

      In my opinion the terms and conditions of the people at the top of official Ireland has to be tackled, long before they try to slash and burn the people on the bottom.

      Click to access Annual_Report_2008_Eng.pdf

      On page 39, in the 2008 Comptroller and Auditor Generals report he refers to the cost of public sector pensions being over 100 billion per year. How can a country the size of Ireland afford that? I would like every citizen to have that type of pension but the reality is it is only the public sector that actually has it, and the reason it applies to those on the lower grades is because that is the only way the top people could get it for themselves, (and at this point I really am pointing the finger at firstly Fianna Fail, and then all other TD,s that are in a position to accrue these benefits and all the Trades Union officials that have their compensation directly linked to the public service grades. I know trade union have to provide pensions from their own funds, but never theless, the officials in the main enjoy the same terms as the public sector in general.

      I sincerely would like to know how those that will benefit from any or all of these negotiations can credibly ask the private sector to fund this level luxury and then look us in the eye, and tell us it,s the best way forward.

      PS this is my third attempt to post this comment, if it has gone through already I apologise, (I used a different computer for the other 2 posts, and they did not appear so I assumed something was wrong) I,m now thinking you may not want comments on this, and if thats so, then maybe you would consider asking them about the issues I raise.


      • John, your earlier attempts to post this never arrived here. I don’t censor comments unless I believe that the person making them is not a bona fide contributor for some reason.

        The interviews have already been conducted, so I cannot ask your question – but I am sure that if you write to them you’ll get a reply. Both are, in my experience, very open in their response to questions.

        One aspect of all this that you raise – i.e. the position of public service employees and their remuneration – is receiving a lot of public attention, and certainly is worth debating. I very much doubt, however, that either Danny McCoy or David Begg are much influenced in the negotiations by their own pay and benefits. However, the broader issue remains.

  1. Perry Share Says:

    Interesting line-up. Hopefully there are some women out there who would also like to participate as guest bloggers/interviewees? Its rather an androcentric line-up!

  2. frontmails Says:

    It is really amazing. Thanks for sharing.


  3. Professor I hope you don,t mind me coming back to this issue. The cynic in me posed the earlier comment, however my knowledge of Social partnership also prompted me to ask the original question.

    I now note the SIPTU president with a six figure salary and defined pension, just like all the higher civil servants has refused to contemplate any type of cuts in compensation (as wages are now referred to).

    It appears my cynicism is justified, and again I will state these people are negotiation their own positions and terms and conditions of employment. I am not making any accusations as to the personalities, as I do not know any of them personally, it,s more the principle of people negotiating terms and conditions that will eventually apply to themselves is IMHO unethical and immoral. Under social partnership rules it is totally legal though, so no laws broken.

    The process will only have real credibility when independent objective people are overseeing the whole process.

    When I say independent, I mean independent, not the normal Irish version of bringing in yer mates to do the job on yer behalf, which is normal Irish government Modus Operande.


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