Dail Eireann’s Mercs and perks syndrome
By Red Hugh
When he walked out the door of Dail Eireann last Wednesday morning for the last time Pat Rabbitte wasn’t, I’m willing to bet, worrying about where his next meal or bottle of wine was coming from.
The former Labour leader and government minister leaves with a €2m pension pot which will provide him with all the home comforts he’ll need until the day he departs for the big parliament in the sky.
His colleagues, Ruairi Quinn and Eamonn Gilmore had something similar to celebrate. Indeed, all those politicians heading out to a well earned (ahem!) retirement had €14m set aside last year to ensure their pensions are all present and correct.
Even those who fail to get re-elected will be well looked after. Not a bad little arrangement, is it?
A young man I know, a self employed tradesman, started buying houses for his children.
This was in the early noughties. Every couple of years after gathering up some cash he would put down a deposit on the basis it was a good investment, something he could sell when he needed to pay for his daughter’s wedding or his son’s education.
He was, he thought, being prudent, providing for the future. It proved disastrous. The crash came and now my friend has not only lost all that money but is actually deep in debt to banks with little way out.
The stress of his situation is clearly visible these days in his personal appearance.
During this forthcoming election you will frequently hear this government tell us all they understand what the working people have been through during the past five years, that they understand the hardship and sacrifices working people have had to make. You can only laugh.
How does someone on approximately €8,000/10,000 a month plus generous expenses – and a guaranteed indexed link pension awaiting them on retirement – have any idea what it has been like for ordinary wage earners?
By the way, this criticism is not confined to this government; there are quite a few former Fianna Fail ministers strolling around still enjoying their Mercs and perks thanks to the hard pressed taxpayer.
Those who have been telling us all to make sacrifices for the national good weren’t making too much of sacrifice themselves, were they? But sure what’s new.