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“All in this together?” Top civil servants get pay rise as lockdown extended

Imagine as a restaurant owner, being told that your struggling business cannot open for indoor dining for weeks, while top civil servants get pay increases – and then hearing the phrase “we’re all in this together.” You could almost feel yourself turning into Michael Douglas from Falling Down in real time.

As reported in the Irish Examiner:

“Civil servants earning between €70,000 and €150,000 will have their full pay restored from July 1, after Cabinet members signed off on the measures. These civil servants have been on reduced pay since 2008 when, under the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act (Fempi), their salaries were cut.

As provided for by the Public Service Pay and Pensions Act 2017, the pay has now been restored to 2008 levels.”

This news was announced on the same day that Micheál Martin formally announced that the easing of lockdown regulations will be delayed for several weeks at least, apparently out of fears of the Delta variant – despite almost nobody being in ICU or hospital.

Now, what exactly are hospitality workers and private sector entrepreneurs supposed to make of this? What does one do when the State, totally arbitrarily, is picking winners and losers in the economy, and they decide that you drew the short straw – despite a curve so flat it looks like the Incredible Hulk sat on it?

This is the same hospitality sector who revealed earlier this year that half of all restaurants were facing permanent closure, never to open their doors again, if urgent supports weren’t given to the industry – and that was back in March.

Here we are, coming into July, and not only have those supports not been given, but these businesses are still being actively hindered by the government for the foreseeable future.

And meanwhile, top civil servants in government departments, who are already very well-paid and have not lost one paycheck during the entire lockdown, are being rewarded, along with TDs and politicians themselves getting repeated pay rises. It’s enough to drive any reasonable person absolutely demeneted.

There are a lot of things that Irish people will put up with, but unfairness is not one of them. If anything good will come of these types of outrageous double standards, it’s that they will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back in terms of people’s patience for lockdown.

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