Are we our own worst enemies? - EC warning on expenditure

THE European Commission’s stiff warning to the Government over budget targets for 2015 and 2016 cannot be sensibly ignored. That response must stand even if it means that some of our ambitions are deferred. The warning is particularly pertinent as an election looms. 

Nearly every election campaign in the history of the State has been, to a greater or lesser degree, an auction where the auctioneers sell debt disguised as manna from heaven to a susceptible public. To rub salt into the wound they then patronise us by calling us a sophisticated electorate; a sophistication usually reflected in soaring public debt and, eventually, poorer public services.

The warning can be seen as an extension of the sense of drift apparent immediately after the troika’s overseers left the country. Left to our own devices we will spend the rewards of the first signs of recovery, even though the EC suggests that debt reduction would be a far better long-term option. If we have it, we’ll spend it as it were.

Despite raising concerns about the prospect of pay rises in the public sector, the report did not concentrate on spending plans. It also pointed out that expenditure on healthcare is comparatively high but that our outcomes are no better than average. It also reminded us that “limited progress has been made towards reducing the cost of legal services”, confirming our poor record in confronting powerful vested interests. Basically, they told us we are our own worst enemies.

DISCOVER MORE CONTENT LIKE THIS


Lifestyle

SECOND Captains is one of the long-running success stories in Irish podcasting. Ostensibly a sports show led by Eoin McDevitt, Ken Early, and Ciarán Murphy, the former Off The Ball team from Newstalk launched the podcast in mid-2013. two Monday shows are offered for free, with Tuesday-Friday behind a Patreon subscriber model and dubbed ‘The World Service’. It has more than 11,500 subscribers.Podcast Corner: First-class podcasts from Second Captains

The incredible life of Ireland’s first celebrity chef has been turned into a play, writes Colette SheridanHow Maura Laverty cooked up a storm

Their paths first crossed on the top floor of the library at University College Cork in October 2010 when both were students there so Amy Coleman and Steven Robinson were delighted to retrace their footsteps on their big day.Wedding of the Week: College sweethearts open new chapter

Peter Dowdall reveals why all roads will lead to Tullow in County Carlow on February 1Snowdrop patrol: Why all roads will lead to County Carlow

More From The Irish Examiner