The latest exchequer returns that show the Government collected €22.5bn in tax revenue — €1.9bn up on the corresponding period last year — must be welcomed.
Unexpectedly buoyant corporation tax returns — €2.67bn for the six-month period to the end of June, some €505m, or 19%, above expectations — add to the sense of relief these positive figures offer.
However, they raise that eternal question — should the money be used to improve public services or improve public servants pay?
The answer is that a combination of both seems the right thing to do, but by far the greatest proportion of any windfall must be spent on improving services by employing more staff and building more facilities.
There is one instance where public employees should immediately benefit from any unexpected resources — young teachers and gardaí who are paid far less than their peers should be the first to benefit, because today’s pay scale are unsustainable and will not attract ideal candidates.
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