Public and private sectors

Sir, – It was with some sadness but no surprise that I read M Lucey's letter (February 25th) in which most civil servants are described as not having "sat in an office for the last 11 months so their costs of living have greatly reduced" and are accordingly "financially better off as a result of the pandemic".

I am a civil servant who has spent a large portion of the last 11 months working from home for eight hours every day, sitting at my kitchen table maintaining contact with my colleagues through Skype in order to ensure the work we carry out is done as efficiently as possible under the circumstances. I have paid and will continue to pay the increased electricity and heating bills associated with working from home.

The only time over the last 11 months when I was not working from home was the period where my colleagues and I were required to come into the office and assist in the processing of the increased volume of pandemic unemployment payments (a role we would not normally undertake).

This was done willingly, and with due regard to the safety measures required, in order that we may serve the greater good and play our role in expediting the solution to this dreadful crisis under which all citizens of this country are suffering.

Crass generalisations regarding civil servants (whose starting salary is well below the “living wage”) being “better off as a result of the pandemic” should not deter me or my colleagues from doing the job we are paid to do. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 24.

Sir, – The public sector took a massive hit during a crash in which we played no part in bringing about, and we have not had one pay rise in a decade. Meanwhile the private sector has enjoyed bumper year after bumper year in the past six or seven years.

And might I also remind people that while countless jobs have been put on hold or lost due to the pandemic, we have not seen one single wealthy company put their hand in their pocket to help their employees – instead they have allowed the public purse to pay their wage bills for them.

I’m sick and tired of begrudgery and moaning by the private sector regarding the public sector in a country awash with cash within the bank accounts of business small and large. If you’re in the private sector and you feel aggrieved with public sector workers who have worked to the bone over the past year, and who then receive a measly few per cent pay rise, please keep it to yourself. Better still, pay your employees properly! – Yours, etc,



Dublin 16.