National Budget Kite-Flying Festival 2011
Deaglán de Bréadún
There are so many kites flying on the Budget that we could have a national festival. The child benefit issue has really taken off since it surfaced in the Sunday papers. Meanwhile, Labour’s Willie Penrose had already quit his “super-junior” job over the closure of an Army barracks in Mullingar.
Apparently the job vacated by Mr Penrose will not be filled until after the Budget, so expect a number of other Labour juniors and backbenchers to be tipping their caps for it in the interim. You are not a full minister and cannot vote but you do get to sit at Cabinet in what is humorously known as “the high chair”.
Will there be any more resignations? Possibly, but with such an enormous majority, the Government won’t be seriously endangered. The basic deal, as Ivan Yates pointed out on Newstalk just now, is that there be no increases in core rates of Social Welfare for Labour and no hike in income taxes for Fine Gael.
Besides all that, the ghost of the Troika is hammering at the door, giving the Government an excuse and rationalisation for harsh measures.
One has a growing feeling that equality is becoming more and more of an issue. The extraordinary imbalance between the salaries of top bankers, senior civil servants and others vis-a-vis the money paid to nurses, Gardaí and firefighters, for example, is coming more and more into the spotlight.
Who would argue that the work of a nurse or police officer is less socially-useful than that of a banker? Interesting times lie ahead!