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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: April 11, 2011 @ 6:52 pm

    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!

    • Desmond FitzGerald says:

      I notice how Irish parties never quite seal the deal – the FF bill still allows for limits below which the very same buying of influence and cronyism will continue and it just means the donators will need to print off more cheques than before.

      If FF were serious there would be a complete ban on donations to political parties from anyone, public or private and politics should be fully state funded with the relevant transparency and accountability – politics is as important to the running of a state as economic policy or heath policy etc so why do we insist on fooling ourselves that politics should be funded by wealthy people with an agenda and that this isn’t why every pillar of society in Ireland has failed.

      Amazing to think Labour politicians in the UK managed to fight a war and at the same time come up with the NHS and the Welfare State and what have ours ever come up with? They couldn’t even turn the very modest aims of the Just Society into reality.

      There is still no requirement on TDs/Senators to provide the receipts for the expenses they claim and we’ll see how many of the new TDs manage to claim the maximum – I bet you every single Fine Gael TD will claim the maximum they are ‘entitled’ to claim. So will certain Independents and none of them will provide receipts.

      I’d hold off on the ‘new dawn’ for the moment – give it a year and we’ll see what they have actually reformed.

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