Labour achieving Dev’s vision?
Deaglán de Bréadún
Labour was the cutting edge of the new Coalition in the last 24 hours. We had Pat Rabbitte, Joan Burton, Ruairi Quinn and Brendan Howlin all emphasising the need for stringency and there was a particular emphasis on the importance of real change under the terms of the Croke Park public sector pay and reform agreement.
The message to the unions and the civil and public service bosses was: get with the programme for change or further pay cuts are inevitable.
And as I write, a special Cabinet meeting is under way where public spending will (once again) be put under the microscope.
These are tough times and no mistake.
The Croke Park process has yielded little by way of obvious results so far, except for industrial peace: remember the dispute at the Passport Office?
The unions have played their hand very cleverly but it now appears that something substantial will have to be done if the process is to retain credibility.
Fianna Fail meanwhile has published a Bill proposing cuts in political funding from private individuals and a virtual ban on corporate donations to political parties and candidates.
Some would say it is a bit like a reformed alcoholic preaching temperance and there is certainly something of the zeal of the convert about the proposals.
Whatever about other elements of Eamon de Valera’s vision, we may be well on the road to achieving his ideal of “frugal comfort”, with Labour leading the way!