Croke Park ‘most reviled process’

Your editorial of Saturday, Jan 26, ‘Unions better stick to Croke Park agreement’, sounds like an unquestioning press release from government spin doctors.

You say the decision of middle-ranking garda management, to walk away from talks between the Government and the public service unions, is a setback for the negotiations to secure extension of the Croke Park agreement, affecting Ireland’s track record of industrial relations stability.

Slavishly, you say the negotiations are a vital piece of the jigsaw that will shape Ireland’s economic ‘recovery’.

Finally, you say it would be better for the ‘whole country’, both in ‘social and economic’ terms, if the unions stick to the negotiating table.

Regurgitating government spin on the virtues of the ill-conceived Croke Park agreement is an insult and an injustice to your readers.

It is insulting to those outside the cosseted ‘Pale’ of the public service, the 450,000-plus on the dole, the 85,000 young people forced to emigrate every year, the carers denied their rightful respite, hungry children, older people dying of hypothermia, and so on.

Maybe you, and the Government, believe that these unfortunates are just collateral damage of the CPA, which protects the unsustainable salaries and perks of ‘elite’ senior civil servants, politicians, bankers and trade union bosses.

The same mindset also protects the grotesque and untouchable pensions of Mr Ahern, Mr Cowen, and their cohorts in the last government, whose policies, in the opinion of most people, resulted in our present, disastrous travails.

Reasonable people outside the agreement are of the opinion that the CPA, along with paying bondholders in full, is the most divisive and reviled process since the banking bust, causing a huge disparity between those within and without the system, leading to a lack of national solidarity and cohesion, as well as utter disillusionment with politicians, the political system and our so-called democracy.

Unfortunately, the expectation and the reality is that Croke Park 2 will, most likely, be another con job and a fudge, and will continue to protect those who must not be discommoded by the cold winds of the Government’s lopsided austerity programme.

As a national newspaper that presumably purports to present fair, unbiased and balanced coverage of all issues, proportionate and independent analyses are surely the minimum of journalistic standards.

John Leahy

Wilton Road

Cork

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