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Will Gilmore confront the public sector unions?

LABOUR party leader Eamon Gilmore is full of joy at the prospect of being our next Taoiseach.

I don’t share his joy. The real and present danger for an unassuming Irish public is that we could jump from the fire into the frying pan.

There is no doubt that putting a herd of cattle in the cabinet room would be more productive than the current group of witless, uninspiring failures.

However, the alterative being currently suggested by the opinion polls points to trouble ahead.

At some point Eamon Gilmore and his party are going to have to address some unavoidable problems facing our country.

Let me explain. Few would argue that the core reason we have been so devastated as a society and an economy is the fundamentally poor state of our public administration, hobbled as it has been by cronyism and corruption.

From the appointment of party/union hacks to every semi-state and state body to the political appointment of a financial regulator, we have been betrayed as a people. The trade union movement in this country has been up to its ears in dodgy doings over this period through the so-called partnership process.

The fact is the Labour party is now – and in the future will be – at the beck and call of the conservative trade union movement, as Fianna Fáil was to the building and banking industries.

The umbilical cord joining the Labour party to our discredited and stubbornly anti-reform unions fatally compromises the Labour party’s capacity to institute the kinds of reforms required to transform the public administration infrastructure.

The basic problem with the Croke Park agreement is that the ‘partners’ who messed up the public service infrastructure were never going to be able to come up with the solution.

Rather than spend time shopping for wallpaper for the Taoiseach’s office, Mr Gilmore needs to start telling the nation exactly how he is going to impose reform in the public sector, and how many union powerbrokers he will knock over in the process.

Otherwise we face another five years of public sector paralysis.

Declan Doyle




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