Traders of Newry, rejoice!

Well paid workers with safe jobs to announce a second shopping trip strike.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    How much does the state save by not having these crazy-feckers-in-denial at work?

    Is there still anybody outside the French embassy?

    Perhaps there should have been better co-ordination betwen the strikers and groups trying to get a replay – if they all put their minds to it they can surely create an alternative and much more pleasant reality.

  • Big Bopper

    Oh it’s the Republic’s timewasters. I thought it was the NI civil service, but if they went on strike, who would ever know?
    Not unknown for NICS staff to spend their 2 hour lunches on shopping trips.

  • Public sector workers didn’t cause this crisis and they are right not to be scapegoated. Not all the workers are well-paid by any means, it includes cleaners and people on junior ranks in the Gardaí etc. Public sector workers are right to strike because they are able to; when the upturn comes it will be the turn of the private sector to demand the pay they were denied during the crisis. Cutting pay won’t help economic growth, it’ll kill off demand and make things worse.

  • Mack

    In other news, Copper Face Jacks to order extra Smirnoff Ice to meet demand.


    More seriously, Joe Duffy reporting on a picket outside the only entrance into the Harold’s Cross Hospice. Seriously? WTF?

  • Mack

    nineteensixtyseven –

    Public sector workers didn’t cause this crisis and they are right not to be scapegoated

    No they didn’t. Neither did private sector workers being laid off and taking pay cuts, my family and friends struggling to make mortgage repayments.

    No one is scape goating public sector workers. In fact, we’re pointing out they are the lucky ones!

  • Mack
  • DeLeon

    Why is it that some seemingly lucid people loose all sense of reason when they hear the word strike.

    No really, a great analysis of the current economic situation in our nearest neighbour

  • nineteensixtyseven,

    Public sector workers didn’t cause this crisis …

    Actually, proportionately they did. They used their inflated salaries and job-security to get ever-higher mortgages, and pushed house prices upward. They over-borrowed and over-spent. They voted for FF, the Greens and the PDs. They advised ministers and wrote the kind of clap-trap that we now know to have been wrong (but everyone believed it then). They supported the ‘recession-proof Ireland’ mythology, while ingnoring economic reality. They pushed for higher wages, and ever-increasing numbers, thus forcing the private sector to keep up.

    The bullshit of blaming ‘fat cats’ for everything is populist nonsense. The public sector workers opted for a cushy life (at the tax-payers expense) and ignored the gathering storm clouds. Uniquely cuplable, no. But co-culpable, certainly.

  • A N Other

    At a house party in Dublin with a load of primary school teachers in their 20s on Friday night.

    Every last one of them was on the sauce last night…

    Minimal sympathy, at best, I have for them.

    Are the rumours true of 5 mile tailbacks into Newry earlier today?

    “They have done this State some service, nothing more…”

  • smcgiff

    ‘Cutting pay won’t help economic growth, it’ll kill off demand and make things worse.’

    Classic case of cherry picking from economics.

    There’s NO MONEY!!!!!

  • wild turkey

    “More seriously, Joe Duffy reporting on a picket outside the only entrance into the Harold’s Cross Hospice. Seriously? WTF? ”

    WTF indeed.

    Are we to assume that the pain experienced by the residents of a hospice pales in comparison to the ache and anguish of paid workers employed in the Irish public sector? That seems the obvious implication.

    Newsflash. The Licensed Vintners’ Association allegedly expects daily pub takings to increase between 100% – 200% today…. to dull the pain no doubt.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    how much do you reckon the state saves when there is a strike? Leaving aside lost productivity, taxation, and vat returns (though they might have gone to Newry on a different day anyway).

    Horseman, I agree completely.

    At a teachers conference I heard some quareone in her twenties complainig that she had a 300,000 euro mortgage(or something like that) and blaming the government* for a house price falls and wage cutbacks and everyone clapping away when she was finished as though there was seemingly no personal responsibilty for own decision.

    *She was obviously right about the government needing to take most of the blame but not for her own risk taking.

  • lula

    Epic fail.

    Heard these well-paid, pampered and self-dulgent scabs on the economy are going to strike again next week. Great stuff! If they can keep this up every week for the next year it’ll shave 20% of the public sector pay bill. At last some creative thinking from the “professionals” of the public sector.


    No one is scapegoating the public sector worker. Everyone in the state contributed to the bust. We were all living under the delusion of a never-ending boom. It was a cold sharp shock. One not felt by the cotton-balled public sector, I know, but one that we have all now woken up from – all, that is, except for the cotton-balled public sector worker.

    Here’s the story.

    – Revenue in 2009: €32 billion
    – Expenditure in 2009: €58 billion

    That means we’re losing €26 billion a year. We can’t keep going on like this. The alternative is what is called “bankruptcy”. We got to either a) raise more money (of which there is none) or b) cut our spending.

    Here’s what our money is being spent on:

    – Social welfare: €20 billion
    – Programme expenditure: €16 billion
    – Public sector pay: €20 million

    So what do you want to cut?

    – Social welfare? – Nice! Place the burden on the poor and the needy (including those made unemployed by the crisis).
    – Programme expenditure? – Nice! Place the burden on the poor and the needy.
    – Public sector pay? – Oh no! Not the overpaid (26% overpaid) and moddle coddled (sick days, guaranteed pension, guaranteed jobs, etc.) public sector worker!

    Now, nineteensixtyseven, not all public sector workers have the pay and perks enjoyed by teachers, clerical workers and the other so-called “professionals” of the public sector. That needs to be repeated. But there is an army of well-paid, pampered and self-indulgent “professionals” that we can no longer afford. In flat terms, the money simply isn’t there. It’s either cut numbers or cut pay and what they’re paid – in both monthly salaries as well as in pensions and other perks of the job – is far in excess of what is either deserved, required, proper or affordable.

    The bill has to come down. No scape-goating. It’s nothing personal. Nobody’s “blaming” the public-sector worker for anything. We are all to blame for the bust. It’s just that the money isn’t there.

    It’s either that or we can wait for the day to come when your cheques will bounce. End of.

  • Sean Og

    But is there not somebody else could be taxed? Somebody rich like?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Sean Og: “But is there not somebody else could be taxed? Somebody rich like?”

    Which, in turn, leads to the flight of capital and a re-arranging of one’s affairs to minimize taxable income, etc. A great fill-up for the bankers, tax experts and the like, but not a permanent solution, if only because, if history is any track-record, the increase in the tax rate won’t produce a durable solution and the political set won’t restrain their spending, even if it did.

    Regean cut the capital gains tax… Tip O’Neill and the rest of the legislature spent an additional $1.50 for even dollar of new revenue generated by the tax cut.

  • igor

    Great 20 % off the paybill that week and an improvement in efficiency because they aren’t there buggering everything up.

    I bet Cowan wishes they would do it every week

  • Mack

    Weird, my reply to IT Was Sammy etc. earlier didn’t appear. €75m per day apparently although according to the Indo the _cost_ was €100m per day.

  • Reader

    Sean Og: But is there not somebody else could be taxed? Somebody rich like?
    You could conceivably get 26 billion more out of them this year. But by next year, the few of them with any money left would have gone, taking their money with them. Then what?
    In any case, a lot of the very conspicuous consumers of previous years are actually dead broke now, with the collapse of the property market.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Ta Mack.

    The budget is going to cause sirpatrickmayhem – cant wait.

    …meanwhile in other catastrophic news

    Heard Olivia O’Leary saying on RTE that the bottom of the country will be mainly under water in about ten years times due to global warming – perhaps the boul Sammy Wilson is not as dull as he sounds – the prods will no doubt be leaving all their lights on at night.

  • OC

    “But by next year, the few of them with any money left would have gone, taking their money with them. Then what?”

    And go where? Eastern Congo? What will their money buy there, roast pygmy?

  • I did a statistical analysis of the implications of the Newry visit.

  • Dave

    Great stuff, Hugh.

    Folks forget that Ireland’s external debt is the highest in the developed world at over 1300% of GDP (and heading for circa 1500-1700%), compared to, for example, 2.27% for Greenland, so any cash its economy can generate must go to service its debt and can’t be diverted into taxation to pay for services we can’t afford. There are only pots of IOUs sitting in the Irish banks, not pots of gold awaiting taxation. Unless folks think that the ‘rich’ keep their cash under a queen-size mattress, they’ll just have to accept that they don’t have any cash to tax, only debts to service (or dump on NAMA).

    The level of public expenditure in that state is demented, and is the result of expansionist monetary policies and a political culture that placed post-nationalism above the discarded national interest. Hence, no one gives a flying fuck about the national interest anymore, so it becomes impossible to manage the state as anything other than competing social groups with a selfish interest which holds that some other group should be targeted rather than the group that is targeted – which then squeals about discrimination and violation of its secular rights.

    As much as I hate the loss of sovereignty, it is now necessary to call in the IMF, which will – hopefully – impose immediate wages cuts of 50% on all public sector workers and immediate cuts of 25% on social welfare, aiming for a total cut of 75% over 5 years. That won’t happen for circa 2 years, which is the length of time that reality can be successfully ignored until those external lenders realise that lending more money to borrowers simply so that they can repay their existing debts is only a smart option if they use the grace period to restructure a viable business model that they assumed they lent their money to (which, of course, they didn’t).

  • Mack

    It Was Sammy –

    Sure in that case, we’ll all pack into the north and we’ll have our united Ireland (even though it’ll be a quarter of the size).

  • But surely it would be fairer and it would make more economic sense to tax highly-paid public servants more rather than cut pay across the board? It should be about what you earn, not who you work for, and government employees pay PAYE too. Far be it for me to stand up for highly paid professionals but only 3.7% public sector workers earn over 100,000 euro annually. Cutting pay across the income scale will lower VAT receipts, it will reduce aggregate spending because those on lower pay have the greatest propensity to consume on a daily basis, and it will reduce the income tax base. No one is disputing the size of the deficit but I am seeing no moves towards closing tax loopholes, increasing taxes on capital or introducing a wealth tax. Instead the government are going for the easy target.

  • Mack

    1967 –

    The higher marginal rate of tax rose from around 43% last year to 53-56% this year.

    Capital gains tax increased from 20 to 25%

    DIRT (tax on interest) was increased

    Very many loopholes have been closed and are being closed.

    Very many private sector workers have taken pay cuts as their employers can no longer afford current pay levels. Should tax payers subsidise them? Or what makes public sector workers special?

    They are not facing redundancy, unlike most of the rest of us. ESRI and CSO studies put the public sector premium at 26% and 19% respectively, not counting gold-plated pensions worth an additional 30-40% of salary, and not counting the job security.

    By the way, the median salary in Ireland is around €25,000, 1/4 of that arbitrary threshold you selected. Should workers who, with the same level of qualification and experience pay more tax so that those with guaranteed jobs can continue to earn more?

    I wouldn’t have thought that was fair.

  • Mack

    1967 –

    There is certainly some debate around fiscal multipliers, and how they apply to Ireland. Some suggest that they are negative wrt to government spending. Certainly the last time we got out of a similar hole (spending is currently north of 55% of GNP) in the late 80’s it was spending cuts and not rises that did the trick..


    “For a small open economy, like Ireland, the study found cumulative total fiscal multiplier starts with a negative (yes, a negative) -0.05 effect on economic growth and in the long run (over 6 years) reaches a negative -0.07. In no time does the average cumulative multiplier exceed 0.4%.”