Yesterday the Minister for Public Expenditure, Reform, keeping Trade unions happy and high priest of the Croke park agreement, minister Brendan Howlin, T.D announced his review of Public Service Allowances and Premium Payments.
What he means by review, is that he had a look, decided what was for the axe and then rowed back when he allowed trade unions lobby the bejaysus out of him.
Today we had teachers and Gardai take to the media defending these perks.
The Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors said today the Garda rent allowance was recognised 30 years ago as being part of core pay. That should give an insight to the mindset of some in the civil service and unions. Like the Croke Park deal, this way of thinking is relic of an unsustainable past, The Croke Park Agreement is a document economically antiquated and is as out of touch as the biblical old testament.
Prison officers, non-consultant hospital doctors, fire men and all manner of other civil services posts get the infamous rent allowance. An idea so absurd in the private sector that you’d be fired and committed to psychiatric ward for suggesting it. The rent allowance is also tax-free and not taxed as a benefit in kind as it would be in the private sector. Gardai receive the allowance even if they are not renting. Senior Gardai also get Un-vouched travel allowance of €4,260 a year.
Staff members in the Chester Beatty Library get €20 per box they fill with books and have to move. Young Patrick down the local shops will pack your box and carry it your car for FREE. If you give him a tip he will wash the car and mind the kids while you get your hair done.
The good folk at Inland fisheries get compensation for lunch breaks, taken away from the “designated base”. I’m guessing if they are taking their lunch breaks away from the designated base it’s probably because they are near a river or lake. Here’s a suggestion scrap the allowance and let them to catch their own lunch.
Security staff at The National Museum, Yes those cranky auld fellas that look at you like you’re going to stuff Caravaggio down your pants, they get an allowance for (drum roll please) operating the cctv cameras. Now call me old-fashioned but back in my day if you went for a job in security it was par for the course to be required to operate cctv cameras. You wouldn’t apply for a job to wash the dishes in a hotel and complain when given a dishwasher machine, let alone be paid extra for it.
I had no idea what ‘franking’ was till today. I thought it was some obscure historical society dedicated to the Franks. But no, apparently it’s a job that requires some serious wrist action. Some receptionists in the civil service get a franking allowance of €34 per week, for stamping the post. Some receptionists don’t actually have to stamp the post they have a machine that does it for them.
Paramedics get a cardiac allowance for using a defibrillator. This dates back to the 1980s. I am so relieved they have this allowance imagine all those cardiac deaths that have been averted because paramedics get their defibrillator allowance. The CSO released figures recently showing a direct correlation between the fall in the number of cardiac deaths and paramedics getting a defibrillator allowance.
My favorite allowance is, female members of the Defence Forces get the “female underwear (night-time attire)” allowance of €27.40 a year. It gives new meaning to “is that a gun in your pants or are you happy to see me.” Or maybe the underwear comes with a special pouch to store the grenades.
Some socialists would claim under capitalism, man exploits man, it would seem the reverse is also true under the Croke Park agreement.