Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Fianna Fail isn't going to stop digging on the Bertie pay story. The latest to mount an unusual defence was Martin Mansergh, a former adviser to Bertie, a sitting TD for Tipperary South and an arch Bertie loyalist.

Below is his press release. Note that 13,000 people constitutes about 0.6%, a miniscule number, of the State's 2 million plus employees.

The only line I fully concur with in Dr Mansergh's statment is his line that a lot of the most successful people are overpaid. That they are!


From a reply by the Minister for Finance Brian Cowen, TD, to a written question, it is clear that at least 12-13,000 Irish citizens on the basis of 2006 figures will be better paid in 2009 than the Taoiseach and other political office-holders, which puts into perspective some of the recent controversy. They include, of course, a number of persons working at senior levels in the media, business people, professionals, and some higher paid GPs. A vast majority, though not all, would be in more secure employment. Either a lot of the most successful people are overpaid, or it must be accepted in the context of this society that the Taoiseach's salary is commensurate with his responsibilities, which ultimately are greater than anyone else's."


Dan Sullivan said...

More interesting is how many of those people who are better paid than Bertie are also under taxed, many of them especially those at the very top are paying less than the lowest of the two income tax rates. Why is that?
There was a Dennis the menace (the American version) where Dennis asks when he will be old enough not to have to go to Church like Mr. Wilson. Presumably Bertie wants one day to take home enough money that he can stop paying tax like the really rich. For me it brings the whole mess and approach of this government full circle.

Perhaps Bertie's real hero isn't Pearse but Lenora Helmsley, whose memorable maxim went: "Only the little people pay taxes.

Cian said...

and it sounded worse on the radio this evening. this awful sense of entitlement that seems to have infested FF since they won the election (at least this generation anyway).

Fishes rot from the head down my gran says and FF gotta be careful that Bertie doesnt leave too much of this rot when he goes. Otherwise it could be too insurmountable.

Paul said...

I agree that Mansergh’s argument is unconvincing, but why did you call it “bizarre” in the first paragraph of your news report in the Examiner this morning? Surely that’s the sort of personal judgement that should be reserved for an opinion piece? Is there a danger that the lines between your reporting and this blog are getting a little blurred?

Harry McGee said...

Different newspapers employ different styles when news reporting.
It's true that the Times for example would not tend to use the word bizarre unless it was quoting somebody.
But for other newspapers in Ireland that clear distinction between what is news and what is opinion is blurred. The Examiner takes its lead from the Independent in the UK - in precis it is; in this era of rolling news what is needed is not a newspaper but a viewspaper.
Having said that, we don't tend to go over the top in, say, the way the Mail or Indo can.
As for the use of bizarre, the other alternative would have been 'unusual' or unorthodox, neither of which have impact. It is true that bizarre is straying on the side of editorialising - but sometimes you have to stand back and look at something and say: Is this odd? Would the typical reader regard it as odd?
In other words, occasionally you can allow yourself to be declamatory.
The Examiner under the editorship of Tim Vaughan prides itself on being campaigning - and its coverage will often be coloured by its stance on a particular issue.
I don't think there's anything particularly wrong with that - as long as the reader knows where we are coming from!

Anonymous said...

May be you could answer this question I have ask to a few people but nobody seems to have the answer.
Question : Do Irish TDs and Minister only pay Tax on 50% of their salaries?

Harry McGee said...

No, they haven't figured out how to do that yet. For the moment, they pay tax on all of their salary. Harry.

Paul said...

Thanks for that very full reply, Harry. I take your point. However, I’m still bound to say that I feel very uncomfortable when I read news reports in which the reporter expresses an opinion, however subtly – I’d much rather be given the facts and allowed to make up my own mind. On the opinion page, obviously it’s a different story.

Job said...

I have spent most of the 2007 working on salary surveys, and have to say I am very sorry for Bertie... :(