It seems there are a number of loopholes and possible legal issues arising from those recent budget measures which were supposed to apply to members of the Oireachtas - in particular, the payment of the annual €6,400 long-service bonus to existing recipients and the legality of changing the rules regarding the payment of ministerial pensions to sitting politicians.
Similar legal concerns emerged regarding the imposition of the public service pension levy on the judiciary, which resulted in this group of highly paid individuals finding themselves exempted from that levy.
Are we to find ourselves legally hamstrung on every initiative aimed at addressing the excessive salaries and perks enjoyed by the upper echelons of the public service and members of the Oireachtas?
We have been promised a second Lisbon Referendum before the end of the year. The Government should use the opportunity to hold a simultaneous referendum which would confer on the Oireachtas the power to legislate for cuts in public service pay and benefits, as may be deemed necessary in these financially troubled times.
There’s little doubt that such a proposition would be approved by the vast majority of the electorate. Indeed, the strong urge to vote “Yes” might well transfer itself to Lisbon II as well!
Footnote: Published as a letter in the Irish Independent & the Irish Examiner
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