April 11, 2012

Teachers need to learn hard lessons about pay

Posted in Ireland · 323 comments ·

Did you ever have a teacher who was compassionate to his or her students? Did you have a teacher who took so much interest in individual pupils that they’d take the time to worry about whether the student was good enough for honours or pass papers? This was done with the welfare of the pupil in mind. Sometimes a pupil struggled with the complexities of an honours paper and just couldn’t get it. The teacher who advised that pupil to drop down wasn’t being harsh but was being fair and honest. Nothing is worse than irrational expectations which are subsequently dashed.

I have to ‘fess up. I have a soft spot for teachers. I am from a family of teachers on one side. Both my mother and one of my sisters are teachers, as are my uncles and aunts. Further back, there are teachers dotted around all over the place, so I am genetically pro-teacher. I also remember the teachers who influenced me years ago. These people made a huge impression on me and changed the way I looked at the world.

So it is with a certain amount of familial trepidation that I write this piece. However, it must be said loudly — particularly because sometimes teachers aren’t the best listeners.

Sensible teachers are being led up the garden path by their union leaders and their expectations will be dashed, leading to anger.

I heard the INTO national conference on the radio yesterday. Did you? If you did, you would have heard a union leadership who are living in cloud cuckooland. On the radio, I heard fighting talk about the Croke Park Agreement and how it is sacrosanct.

In normal times, few would disagree that teachers should get their dues. They should be well paid and well resourced. In fact, resources in primary should be increased, over all other levels of education, because we know that the more resources that are thrown at young children, the greater the outcome, in terms of kids from poor backgrounds getting a better education and a better ‘leg-up’ in life.

But from the point of view of salaries and pay rates, it seems that the idea that our country is bankrupt has evaded the teachers’ union leaders.

Teachers are not being singled out, nor are they being picked on. There just isn’t the cash out there.

It is very obvious that what is going on right now in Ireland is a titanic battle for the last of the troika money. It is the scrap for the last of the resources. But the cake is shrinking. Just witness the fall in industrial production, houses prices and credit aggregates in recent weeks. This means that everyone’s share will shrink with it, particularly if you are paid from a public purse which is getting smaller and smaller.

The story of the next few years will be one of wages falling relative to profits throughout the country. This is the natural process of economics in a credit crunch and the teachers are likely to suffer as a result.

Have a look at the accompanying chart because it explains one of the most important developments in the economy right now. It measures the ratio of profits to wages.

If a fight between profits and wages sounds Marxist, that’s because it is. Sometimes the best place to start in economics is with Marx. It might not be the best place to end up, but Marx is a good starting point.

According to Marx, there is capital and there is labour and they are in constant battle with each other. The return to labour is wages and the return to capital is profit. As one goes up, the other must go down.

The chart shows the return to labour and capital going back 14 years. Contrary to popular rhetoric, Ireland was a great place to be a worker in the boom, at least in terms of the return to labour. In contrast, it was a dreadful place to invest, in terms of the return to investment, profits.

In every year from 2002 to 2009, the ratio of wages to profits in the economy split in favour of wages. A full 10pc of total Irish income switched from profits to wages. This is a big swing.

It was one of the complaints you heard in the boom from small businesses, like bars and restaurants, that they couldn’t get workers and when they got them, they were so expensive that profit margins collapsed.

As unemployment fell, wages went up for the individual and obviously the general wage bill did too. This is what is supposed to happen. As most of us gain our income from wages, the object of all economies should be higher wages.

Because what’s the alternative? Lower wages? A low-wage objective is hardly the way to run a society.

Many people, unfortunately, reacted to this increase in wages by taking on more and more debts and therefore their wage increases and employment opportunities were matched with more debt.

NOW that the economy has turned, the natural tendency is for those big trends we saw in the boom to be reversed completely. As capital and credit are scarce, the return to capital will rise. So profits will rise in the years ahead in Ireland.

In contrast, the trend that is beginning to emerge in wages will become more and more evident. The boom process will be reversed and the Marxist analysis about who gets what will run it course.

This will also mean, as profits rise, that more and more people will try to set up businesses because you will make much more by taking risks now relative to looking for an employed position.

It has other ramifications too.

But for the Croke Park Agreement, the writing is on the wall. The State can’t afford it. Never mind all the spin we are seeing and hearing right now from the likes of the NTMA or the Department of Finance. There will be no going back to the markets next year. The Spanish and Italian bond markets are getting hammered. There is no way in the world that anyone is going to lend to Ireland, unless we offer a realistic way out of this and stop pretending that national wage deals signed in 2010 have any realistic hope of being paid.

It strikes me that the union bosses are leading their members up a garden path if they keep telling them that the commitments entered into in the Croke Park deal can be met. This can only lead to disappointment. And there are few things more irresponsible than false hope.

Look at this from the context of a teacher who has to consider an ambitious student. Mammy wants him to do an honours paper in the Leaving Cert. But you, the teacher, know he’s just not up to it and would be better off dropping to a pass and focusing on the subjects that he is good at.

What do you do? Do you tell him and save him the disappointment in August? Or do you raise his hopes, hopes that you know can never be fulfilled? It’s your choice.

The union bosses have the same choice.

  1. Qr96UThjJT7j

    Well said.

  2. The Dork of Cork

    No David , wages must rise in Punts as debt cannot be repaid in deflating euro wages.
    The increased wages during the boom were a bank credit event rather then a organic fiat process with even goverment wages a product of taxed credit money.

    The euro experiment has been characterised by a massive deflation event since the 80s………with it exporting via finance our capital base to China & elsewhere (think of all those coal fired power stations built 2 a week & Moneypoint finished in 87)
    The banks re imported this wealth via credit to us so that we could buy the external products.
    This process must completly reverse now as the oil is not available to sustain this overstretched supply chain.
    Domestic demand must recover but BMWs will seem almost like spaceships.

    • Hi Dork,

      I agree with you about the Punt and have been making this point about the post crisis settlement since 2005 – well before the crash.

      All the best

      • “In fact, resources in primary should be increased, over all other levels of education, because we know that the more resources that are thrown at young children, the greater the outcome …”

        Unfortunately David, that is never going to happen in the current climate because the outcome you speak of won’t become apparent for about 18 years or so. No politician thinks that far ahead – it just isn’t in the job description. Right now Ireland has more pressing problems, caused in the main by short-termism.

        So it doesn’t just begin with Marxism, it ends with Marxism too. The problem arises when people think they can take a short-cuts that turns out to be a cul-de-sac.

        That’s probably something that your teachers didn’t tell you David – or maybe they tried to but you weren’t listening!

      • Tony Brogan

        Hi David
        Do you propose a domestic currency as another fiat piece of paper to be inflated to infinity and totally irredeamable?
        I will send you my proposal to monetize silver coin, if you are interested.


      • Tony Brogan

        Hello David
        no response from you about the proposal to implement commoditity money =’s no interest in learning about it, or you already know and dismiss it which means you have no viable solution to the problem you outline in this essay.
        It is not about the teachers per se but about the lack of money in Ireland to pay anything to anyone.
        You have absolutely no idea how to repair the damage. you have offerred no solutions.
        you identify the problems and receive plaudits and adulation for that.

        I had hopes that you would debate solutions rather than have the blog degenerate to little nasty finger pointing discussions about who should have what, and who should not.

        As far as schooling is concerned, let the government set a price per student they are willing to fund and issue chits for every pupil that can be spent on education of any kind at the discretion of the parents. Then privatise the schooling system and let the schools compete for the pupils. you would improve the educational standards remarkably and the schools would compete also for the best teachers
        Each would be paid what they are worth in the market place, and the best effective schools would attract the best students.
        home schooling is always an option and if done the parent would pocket the cash form the government chit.
        Maybe some parents could then set up their own classrooms and teach the neighbours kids as well.
        information and excellent programming is available on the internet and the department of education can set the basic curiculum.Lectures form the finest minds on any subject can be presented online by video.

        Our currnent system in outmoded, outdated and irrelevent. It is a giant babysitting racket where every student is filled with unnecessary socialization and propaganda.

        My three kids were home schooled for 2 years. We did not like the atmosphere or attitudes at the state school so pulled the kids.

        They worked from 09.00 to 12.00 each day and all assignments were completed. the rest of the time was their own unless there was an event planned around a neighbourhood club etc.

        Remarkably all three obtained top grades when they returned to the state system and found they were far ahead of other students. One jumped a whole year in all subjects and two years in Maths.

        Neither of the parents had any “qualifications” but as I said I come from a teaching family so it is second nature. but my wife did the work. Learning for the kids was unconcious and fun. They were excited each day.

        Do you think these ideas have merit?

        Best regards

        • Tony,

          Its not my lack of interest that explains the silence, sometimes it just a lack of time. Bear with me.



          • Tony Brogan

            Thanks David
            I have a hard time keeping up with the comments, but the email notices are great.
            Is there a way to search the author for the latest comment. I am continially trolling all the comments to catch an update.
            I look forward to a response over the next weeks when you have a spare half day!!!
            best regards

    • rebean

      Thats it I am off to do a degree in economics. I really need to understand exactly why we are in the crap we are in. Would it be the refusal to balance the budget or the Euro. I need to educate myself on the whole debacle. I do remember when the euro was introduced that the price of everything went up. We complained at the time. Maybe those guys with their first class honours degrees in economics in the Dept of finance could have done more.

      • “could have done more”

        Certainly they are being paid more. Save yourself the expense of doing an economics degree and just ring them up. They are civil servants after all. Demand answers. It is their job to explain.

      • Save your money. Educate yourself.

      • Tony Brogan


        The Creature from Jeckyl Island by G. Edward Griffin.

        It will open your eyes and blow your mind.

        Then Paper Money Collapse by Detlev Schlitcher.

        The two will put you light years ahead of 999 out of every 1000 people.

        All the best

  3. wills


    The cash is there in endless amounts to feed a criminal banking system and its psychos running away with the swag.

    So, if we can print 30 billion out of thin air in the Central Bank for bondholders we can print a few bob extra to pay teachers what they in fact work for as opposed to banking criminals who steal.

    • Tim

      Absolutely correct, wills.

    • pauline

      I think they have hit it on the head. Without any global debt reduction (ie dumping bank debt) and TD salary reduction.. people will continue to fight their corner of the pie. Problem is we’re eating foreign pie instead of planting for the future, and it will run out. The top 17,000 civil servants get paid in total as much as the bottom 150,000. If all Civil servants and this include from President to the Teachers were capped at 50,000 for a 3 years, it would save 3 billion a year. Since we own the banks, we could defer all mortgages for this period so this is a huge and decent salary. However..this has to be everyone.

    • Hi Wills,

      I know what you mean by this and have a lot of sympathy with it. I am trying to figure this stuff out and think it through a bit more because what you are saying (and others) it the type of “once in a generation” type of thinking that both undermines and yet begins to solve everything.


      • It’s a simple proposition. It’s a question of right and wrong. What is there to think about?

        Or would you rather tolerate illiteracy rates in Ireland of 25% while you ‘think about it’

        God David. I am fast coming to the conclusion that you can be a right plonker sometimes. Just like me and everyone else on here!

    • Tony Brogan

      Hi Wills
      Wish I could agree with you.
      The money is not there
      It has to be borrowed and added to the national debt under our current system.

      Debt free money could bre issued by the Irish treasury and earned in to existence. it would require the closing of the Irish central bank and stopping the CB system of issuing currency as a loan and a debt instrument.

      Treasury bills issued in the same way would carry no interest and also would not need to be repaid. (It would be preferable if they were repaid as addind to the money supply is the cause of inflation.

      As a short term fix treasury currency could be paid to any government employee or contractor just the same as any other currency.
      It is an easy way to go back on to the punt .

      Better yet is to monetize silver coin issued by the mint at no cost to the government and issue in to circulation using the post office thus side stepping the banking system completely again. silver is inflation proof and the prefered method of saving for a free sovereign people.

      Either of these suggestions leaves a legasy of NO DEBT for the next generation.

  4. mediator

    What is it about teachers that makes them such a target?
    Social Workers
    Civil Servants

    What about social welfare?

    What about higher grades?

    What about CEO’s who take home millions while eviscerating their companies and communities?

    What about the increased cost of living?

    Quick point

    It now takes two “Teachers” who are on average teachers pay to pay the mortgage on an average Irish house and to pay bills etc (not talking about foreign holidays etc)

    In the 1970′s , my dad could afford the same on a blue collar salary and raise four children

    Real wages have collapsed since the 1960′s in every developed western economy

    But keep it up and soon we’ll all be working 1.5 jobs each to make ends meet

    Children rearing outsourced with attendant problems down the line

    Higher incidence of alcohol and drug abuse

    Higher incidence of domestic breakup

    • Tim

      Correct and well explained, mediator.

    • C21living

      Mediator, you say:

      “It now takes two “Teachers” who are on average teachers pay to pay the mortgage on an average Irish house and to pay bills etc (not talking about foreign holidays etc)”.

      Surely you are just referring to a mortgage taken out during the patently insane property bubble phase, say from 2000-2007. Obviously, it would take 4 or 5 salaries to pay those mortgages, many of which were 7 or 8 times the annual salary of the people who signed up for them.

      Sorry Mediator, those folks who took out those mortgages are screwed. They were never going to be able to pay them, the whole thing was insane, as DMcW did his best to point out at the time!

      • AndrewGMooney

        If the borrowers were insane, the lenders were hardly compus mentis.

        Assuming these were verified loans to salaried workers rather than ninja, liar, sub-prime: what propsals are being made for reducing debt principle in line with stagnant and deflating wages?

        When a vocal minority were in Cassandra mode, the Taoiseach ruminated as to why critics of the ‘boomiest boom’ didn’t just go and suicide. It’s hardly surprising the educated sheeple chose fantasy rather than reality: encouraged by banking necromancers.

        • C21living

          The lenders were and remain pure evil. Obviously!

          But them lemmings who took out these telephone number mortgages can go jump off a cliff.

          The public who weren’t so stupid are sick of it at this stage.

          The new bankruptcy laws will be in foce in the latter half of this year.

          Let them just give back the houses they could never realistically pay for in the first place, and after 36 months they’ll be discharged and can buy again at a much cheaper price.

          • AndrewGMooney

            Clearly you are not a bankruptcy lawyer or accountant! Yes, credit worthyness just magically reappears after bankruptcy, allowing fresh mortgages to buy back the property that the bank siezed and let go to rack and ruin whilst the 36 months in purgatory played out. Ingenious, why has no one else thought of this?

          • C21living

            That’s what a ‘discharged’ bankrupt is Andrew, someone whose slate has been wipped clean at the Irish Credit Bureau.

            Haven’t you heard about the new bankruptcy laws?

          • AndrewGMooney


            yes, the bankruptcy laws will move from the C19th to the mid C20th. 3 years instead of 12. and it wasn’t done voluntarily:

            ‘Ireland was required to change its bankruptcy laws under the terms of its EU/IMF bailout and has until the end of April to publish the new changes in full.’

            ‘”We said there would be no debt forgiveness by diktat, but of course we are open to debt forgiveness on a case-by-case basis,” Noonan said.’

            ‘no debt forgiveness by diktat’: unless you’re a foreign bondholder!

            ‘Ireland has become a large debtors’ prison with no payroll. There is no NAMA for him, no bailout.
            In contrast, the delinquent banks have NAMA, the reckless bondholders have the IMF, but this guy has nobody.
            So what do we do about the hundreds of thousands of our friends, family, and work colleagues who are in negative equity now or will be in the future?’


            You are gloating at this mass distress. Shame on you.

            The slate is not wiped clean. The debt is forgiven, but creditworthyness has to be rebuilt. And credit is likely to be like rationed to those who have not had to go bankrupt.

          • StephenKenny

            “The slate is not wiped clean. The debt is forgiven, but creditworthyness has to be rebuilt. And credit is likely to be like rationed to those who have not had to go bankrupt.”

            It might be worth mentioning the commercial end of this, where the opposite is often true. Property businesses that blew up – the good, the bad, and the very ugly – are often funded by their original banks “because they have the experience and business knowledge”.

            I’m sure the lenders won’t make the same mistakes this time.

          • AndrewGMooney


            Agreed. When businesses are limited liability, there may be sheltered personal and family collateral to kick-start a new venture. That’s how business works.

            In a downward spiral many good businesses go to the wall because of, say, cash-flow.

            The problem is for the entrepreneur who cannot access credit other than by accepting personal liability.

            Bankruptcy/receivership should be able to distinguish between a failed profitability model and a consumer credit card frenzy in Dundrum. It’s not as if ‘data mining’ is difficult with digital banking platforms.

            12 years was barbaric. 3 years is backward. I year would actually match the rhetoric on entrepreneurial revivalism.

        • mediator


          Example I’m thinking of

          I’m talking normal (as in 4x)average industrial wages
          ie €150000

          Takes two salarie to even make ends meet on what is a low mortgage by the standards of the last seven years

    • pauline

      In fairness.. my dad raise 4 kids on a teachers salary and put us through college.. it wasn’t easy… as above… this has to be a sane solution that applies to all equally.. rather than first they came for social welfare.. then they came for the teachers..

      croke park is dead though.. deal with it sooner rather than later .. and the thought that all teachers are martyrs who give a shit about their students was absolutely crap in my education, so lets not pretend they are.. some are great some don’t give a shit…

    • rebean

      Lets have some benchmarking against teachers in the UK. Does that sound fair? Lets see now Hmmm . Oh yes here it is average salary 35000 quid with a nine hour day. Six weeks off for holidays in summer. How does that sound. After all we are bankrupt are we not.

  5. Tony Brogan

    Nice article , David.
    Like you my family are teachers.
    Mother, father, two sisters, Aunts, uncles and cousins too. Not all but a goodly 50% of the family. It was something I swore never to do!
    It takes a strong constitution to handle the stresses and remain healthy.

    In BC (British Columbia) we do not have the severity of the financial problems evident in Ireland, but we have similar political problems.

    As I travel back and forth ocassionally I am struck by how often what seems a”local” problem in BC is in fact enacted at the the same time with the same issues forefront in another jurisdiction.

    Thus guess what is the issue facing the Provincial government today? Why , how did you guess, teachers issues with wages and working conditions. Will they strike and disrupt the entire community with all the kids suddenly at home? Or, will they be deemed an “essential service” and forces to remain at work while the issues are referred to a mediator to settle. In the past such issues have been settled with minis cule pay raises and enforced by legislation.

    Two decades or so ago teachers here were given the opportunity to vote on whether they wished to be a professional organization or to belong to a union. The vote went to the union.

    Our provincial budget is in the red. The national budget is in the red. We have spent more than we ought, tax receipts are down and yet the demands increase.

    i am firmly of the opinion that the issues are concocted internationally and enacted locally, in all cases not just the teachers.

    Unfortunately some of the teachers grievences have validity, but as in Ireland there is the assumption that somehow government has money others do not.

    We must all learn to live within our means.

    Best regards

  6. richardwhl

    David, normally I agree with you on most things, and, in essence, I agree with most of what you say here. But there is the Large Elephant In The Room that is the bailout of the bondholders.
    While this is obviously a discussion about teachers’ pay, and in a larger way the Croke Park Agreement, one can’t really take this subject on its own. Not with that Elephant hanging round.
    By all accounts, the Croke Park goals are being met by the workers (mainly because the cuts in pay and the DTLs are being enforced).
    Compare this with the banks and bondholders (and economists and politicians) who have to do nothing to keep their share of the pie other than exist.
    You can surely see why the workers and the unions find this unacceptable…?

  7. molly66

    Yes David yes
    Let’s focus on the small employer, why should he employ even one person.
    The red tape,the headache ,the proposed sick pay,holiday pay next there be the rap me up in cotton wool for the employee.
    Then there’s the lack of work out there,the government want to force the banks to lend to small set ups, unless they are export lead what chance do these have .
    In case this thick government have forgotton the domistic economy is RIP, it all great start up a new company or expand an old one,but no body is spending money unless they have to so employers think hard and fast about trying to survive in shark infested waters because when the money(loan) runs out the bank that likes to say yes may say bite. There’s a lot to be said for the one man band.

    • Deco

      In retailing, and small service businesses, the current scenario is playing out exactly as you describe above.

      You have the situation where shops are letting people go, and employing family members, who can be depended upon for flexibility above that allowed by the law.

      And the local authorities are essentially taking money from the service sector, and reducing employment there, while protecting employment levels in local authorities.

      The government’s way to “handle this” is to bring in property taxes, which are supposedly to finance local authorities in the absence of commercial rates, as businesses gradually close down.

      The result is cathastrophe in the labour market.

      Ireland’s institutional socialism is destroying labour.

  8. SOMK

    I’m not quite clear what exactly this article is saying. A union leader’s job is to ensure good pay and conditions for their union members, to do otherwise would be to not do their job, threatening a strong response to any cuts in wages, is doing that job. The force acting against the current rate of pay is strong (economic) so the threat against that has to be strong too, it’s perfectly logical, there’s nothing “outrageous” about it. The media ran with it, and you heard the usual complaints you’ve heard about teachers ever since phone lines were introduced to radio stations. I heard very few figures quoted about how much teachers are paid, or little in the way of facts or analysis at all, just the same message from all the media “how dare they (they should be thankful to have jobs)”

    This is similar, a knee-jerk reaction which doesn’t really say anything about it. I’m tired at how the issue of public sector pay is looked at so simply in the media, and how eager any non-union commentator (especially economists) is for it to be implemented. As if paying people less is the only right and proper thing to do in the world, as if “we’re all suffering” is somehow equatable with “we all should suffer.”

    The fact is excessive public sector pay in and of itself is not a bad thing, excessive public sector pay in the context of the current economic situation is a bad thing, but the way the issue is debated, is the way it has always been debated, in good times and bad, “they’re lazy this and lazy that, work half the year… etc.”, same every time, the Irish media could just dig up it’s old tapes from the strikes of ’99 stick them in, and press play, copy and paste. You hardly ever hear any relevant questions asked, whether they be specific to the issue such as..

    How much do they get paid? How much do teachers in other countries get paid? How does this work out when compared to the cost of living in those countries? How much do we pay teachers in comparison to other public service roles? Is it a good thing to have well paid teachers? What country has the best education system and how does the rate of pay effect teacher and system performance in that country and others?

    ..or broader, big picture, how does this fit in with the rest of the world questions…

    Why is this happening? What made it happen? How can we stop this happening again, and what will happen if this occurs?

    These are the issues that revolve around the question of teachers pay, or indeed any issue involving cuts, so why not discuss them?

    To take just one of these questions, what will happen if this (ie. pay cuts) occur? The main justification for relatively high teacher wages (if we even have that, I don’t know) was the high cost of living in Ireland, and unprecedented spike in house prices. So cutting wages will put a lot of mortgages we’re on the hook for in trouble (let’s not forget the negative effect on spending too, also never debated), would that write off any savings in cutting wages to teachers? I’ve no idea. But considering just the most basic sketched in analysis here, and you have a sensible point to put across such as “the most logical cost-saving measure is to get mortgage relief in tandem with pay cuts,” which *drum roll* can be debated! If people could get thinking, talking and angry about what really matters (of course most who think they know “what really matters” don’t), instead of just turning against each other at the lazy whip crack of the media, well then things might change, some hope.

    • C21living

      WTF kind of a convoluted argument is this?

      “Let’s not forget the negative effect on spending [of wage cuts]“.

      So people make a complete b*ll*cks of their personal finances by ignoring DMcW, Morgan Kelly, George Lee and the rest of the Casandras, they buy nice cars, squander a bit more on foreign holidays…

      …and when the state goes bankrupt we shouldn’t bring their wages down to a sustainable level, because it might affect their ability to spend yet more money?

      Just think about what you’re saying.

      I mean – SERIOUSLY!!!! – just think about what you’re saying.

      People should be paid more so THEY can spend more. What a load of total crap!

      • C21living

        Your logic, BTW, that people should be paid more so they spend more, is exactly the opposite of the logic of the market.

        In markets, the price goes to the most competitive tender.

        Imagine a plumber saying he needs to charge twice the market rate, “so he can spend more”!! To keep the economy going or whatever.

        You couldn’t make this delusion crap up.

        I swear if I hear this again, I’m going to become a public sector “destruction activist”. Just fire the whole lot of them and rehire Indians and Filipinos.

        Who get on with it cheerfully, I might add, and at very sustainable pay levels, for a bankrupt country like, eh… Ireland?

        • AndrewGMooney

          Why wasn’t the Irish banking sector exposed to ‘market forces’? Why was the country dragged beneath the waves to save the Bondholder’s entitlement agenda? Why isn’t their ‘Croke Park’ agreement revisited?

          Plumbers did charge double/treble until they faced imported competition from ‘immigrants’ who were merely exercising legal rights within a supposed free trade market area known as the EU. Not so for the banks. Double standards.

          Titanic. Lifeboats for NAMA class, sink or swim for those in steerage. Not exactly a new tale.

          • C21living

            Well then, why, oh why, oh why do the Irish vote for FF, FG or Labour when each and every one of these parties supports the bailing out of bondholders?

            None of the above wants to face the wrath of the Troika.

            Yet the public votes for them. Teachers voting for SF? You must be kidding me! Most would be one of the three amigos above.

            Also, most teachers would vote YES in the upcoming referendum.

            So the Irish teachers vote for bailout parties, and the bailout referendum.

            They don’t want to rock the Troika boat, because they want the money to be there for their salaries. But then out of the other side of their mouth they cry-baby about the policies enacted by the party they f**king voted for, as a babyish punch and judy show to distract the public from the fact that their salaries are well above EZ average and are hence unsustainable – as is the banker bailout poilcy, BTW.

            The good news was – we finally got some Polish plumbers in to replace the overpaid local rubbish. When’ll we get a chance to import some talented teachers, with which to knock out mediocre lot into shape?

          • AndrewGMooney


            ‘Well then, why, oh why, oh why do the Irish vote for FF, FG or Labour when each and every one of these parties supports the bailing out of bondholders?’

            Here’s one of my recent rebel drinking songs:

            “I’ve been dreaming of the time when the Irish: are sick to death of Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, and spit upon their names alongside Cromwell’s. And denounce the Tribal Mond that still salutes them: will they salute them forever?

            Celtic Blood, Saxon Heart: this I’m made of. There is no one on Earth i’m afraid of. And I will die with both of my hands untied”

            ‘Mad’ Paddy From Brum

          • 33square

            “When’ll we get a chance to import some talented teachers, with which to knock out mediocre lot into shape?”

            by what mechanism would they knock them into shape?

            i’m not a teacher, but i know for a fact that we have a fair share of talented teachers who care about doing their job well, who have a passion for it.

            unfortunately we also have a whole load who shouldn’t be even allowed near young people, never mind allowed to teach them. you all know them, the “teaching for the holidays” crowd who spoil the whole apple barrel.

            sort that shit out and most of the problems go away. teachers who care about what they do don’t mind being accountable one little bit, those who don’t, do : )

            it kills me to watch someone i love work hard at what she does while seeing some of her cohorts make a mockery of the whole thing. it’d be great for her if there was real accountability in her job.

            unfortunately, as with the whole civil service it seems, that won’t be allowed to happen.

          • coldblow

            Hi 33square

            “Unfortunately we also have a whole load who shouldn’t even be allowed near young people, never mind allowed to teach them”

            There’s a nice line near the end of a Simpsons’ episode where Bart suggests to Nelson that, after what they have been through together, perhaps he might consider giving up bullying him?

            “I’d really like to, Bart, but you know life just isn’t that simple.”

            I’ve been inside a fair few schools and I have never encountered the ‘teaching for holidays crowd’ you refer to. In fact, I am quite sure they don’t exist. I’ve seen dejected teachers, exhausted ones, shell-shocked even. And some who find it relatively easy, some of whom were a little full of themselves. I cana understand the temptation.

            As I mentioned here before the best teacher I ever saw in terms of ‘control’ sounded like a character from Eastenders who could hold up to 100 kids in thrall. He was a part-time coach driver, but all he could talk to them about was driving coaches.

            When I started off I used to get home in the evening, late enough (by the way I heard Philip B-H on Drivetime yesterday say that Irish teachers have the 4th longest hours in the EC or wherever – well in that case England must have the longest as their days and their terms are much longer than here – I always thought Irish teachers had it soft in that respect). At the time Pink Floyd had just issued Another Brick in the Wall. Hey, teacher, leave those kids alone! That used to raise a wry smile as I embarked on the marking and preparation. I would make an extra effort to be sweet and understanding the next day. I kept this up for about 5 years on a full-time ‘professional’ basis, out of pure spite. To let them know who was boss.

            Of course, subbing (which I did a bit of when I came over here) is a different thing. Here’s the Golden Rule: never lose your cool, in any circumstances. Be an observer and just note it. Or to take the vision improvement mantra and give it an educational twist: don’t try to see, allow yourself to see. It’s a kind of a Zen thing. Here’s another Golden Rule: never take your eyes off them. Again, not in a grasping, effort-ful way, but as a detached observer. Anyone considering embarking on a successful career in the subbing profession would do well to bear that in mind.

            Now here’s an idea for RTE where they don’t have to borrow the whole of their next prog from the BBC or C4. Get that Wok fellow (if that’s his name) the one who gets people to take their clothes off and feel good about themselves, to go out on the highways and byways of Irish schools and round up a few of these bits of human wreckage, give ‘em a pep talk, a nice hair cut and some sharp clothes, perhaps a hot meal. Be positive! If he can’t find them I’m sure those wonderful social media will provide a few pointers. I think this might be one of the last Great Taboos!

            But, joking aside, we should be more child-focussed and caring, and demanding of excellence.

            As the current saying goes: good luck with that!

  9. straboe1

    David, I believe that you are mistaken in believing that the union leadership is directing their members in any specific direction. The leadership is reflecting what the members are saying to them and conforming to their wishes. If you need to blame anybody, please place the blame where it should be placed, if there is any blame attaching.

    • He is a crack economist but a politician never. The ego is overriding rational thought

      • Tony Brogan

        He is not all he is cracked up to be as an economist, he is a brilliant writer, and somewhat of an actor.
        Very engaging, very likeable and the only one making any money off this blogg. Very smart!!

        • If you can write you can go far Tony. Especially when you know your audience and have a unique voice that they identify with. DMW proves that learning to write is more useful than going to college and learning to conform to the system

          For someone apparently so smart he does have a tendency to make us laugh at his schoolboy errors and seems to have a permanent need to feel vindicated. That coupled with the desire to make plenty of money is a sign of insecurity in my opinion

          Integrity is what people want. We can’t take our stash with us and if out health goes then money is as useful as a chocolate fireguard

  10. John LK

    From my perspective, the teachers threats represent a barometer of a deeply indebted and angry middle class in Ireland right now. The teachers are not as well paid as similarly qualified yet equally struggling people in the private sector. Sure, the security of a job is worth a lot, however having had 5 wage cutting budgets in a row, their partner losing their job, and going hungry so they can pay for the mortgage like the rest of us. The teachers are just like the rest of us, indebted to our eyeballs. The stress is building on all fronts and I hope we have politicians that can steer the ship before we hit the rocks. Croke Park is nothing compared to the robbery and crimes committed by those who facilitated transferring private debt to the sovereign.

  11. peterlydon

    In a way, you are correct about Croke Park. But a few things before that.

    “In normal times, few would disagree that teachers should get their dues. ”
    This is actually incorrect. Teachers have always had to threaten or go on strike to get increases and usually prior requests, and then the threats are met with the usual invective from the media and the government.
    Teachers are an easy target because they are treated and seen as a current expenditure items rather than an investment item. To paraphrase Clinton ” It’s the education system, Stupid”. To get ourselves out of the whole we are in, we have to spend *more* on education – and includes better salaries to attract better teachers (and fund better teacher diploma courses etc). Hard to do when there is no money. There is no money? More anon.

    The analysis about wages and profits is simplistic. In the good times business were happy to pay higher wages because they could pass them on in prices that they knew people would pay. And even where the *margin* was affected, overall increases in sales compensated. Proof in is the vastly reduced number of strike days throughout the Celtic Tiger period. Ironically, the only people who didn’t get a pay rise through strikes was the teachers (Nurses got their 11% first, followed by the Gardai with 35% just before the teacher strike).
    Higher wages in the private sector was matched by massive increases in productivity. It isn’t a given that higher wages will see a reduction in profits except in relative terms and even that is not guaranteed because of the corollary.

    It may be idealistic of some to think the Croke Park deal should stay. It is equally idealistic to say it must go. Many teachers are make up a chunk of the lower middle income people whose mortgages are under threat. If their salaries are cut further (cut=pay reduction+tax hikes=approx 30% so far) then there is the risk that this group will start to default on their mortgages.

    But there is no money. The first place to start to address this is with the number of education quangos established under the Ahern Administration which saw the work of the DOES shipped off without reducing the number of bureaucratic employees who add little to the overall educational attainment of the children of the State.

    The second place to follow on is with TDs expenses – a system which was designed originally to compensate for the fact TDs had low salaries. Now they have salaries FOUR TIMES that of teachers, they don’t need such lavish expenses. Unfulfilled contracts issued by the HSE would also save a lot of money. etc etc etc..

    The point is, teachers salaries do not represent waste in the system. We need to cut the waste first before we start to take the roof from over the heads of the children.

  12. Harper66

    Today The Irish Government paid 1.5 billion to unsecured AIB bondholders.


    …..would this have anything to do with the inability of our government pay our teachers?

    • Paris75013


      Bravo! Thanks for addressing this issue. I enjoy reading your articles and for me, this is one of your best.

      Thanks for speaking out to the teachers in Ireland who just don’t understand. Like yourself, there are a few teachers in my family. The arguments you outline couldn’t be clearer. Someone should make sure that all teachers receive a copy of your article (and maybe a crash course in economics to go along with it).

      Maybe also provide them with a data chart on teacher salaries in other EU countries (or they could check it out themselves on the OECD website). Teachers in France earn just over half what teachers in Ireland make.

      • peterlydon

        Teachers earn less in France but Ireland isn’t swarming with teacher from France trying to work here. They haven’t had our economic history and all the consequences that flow from that. If you want to make comparisons, at least compare like with like.

    • grougho

      Glad to see someone is awake Harper. the media has been silent today on this issue and it remains the elephant in the room. eyes open people. 1.5 billion in a day and we are talking about cutting educational resources from kids. please eyes open.

      • Harper66

        @ Grougho,
        Yes, it appears the Irish media is “on message”. Nothing like a bit of sabre rattling to bury a bad news story.

  13. Tim

    David, though I largely agree with you in this article, I remember your piece (about ten years ago?) about the teacher aspiring to the €1000 suit of clothes that their private sector brethren had. I never had such a suit, nor wanted one, but I got the point.

    The truth is, during the “Boom!” teachers got only “cost of living” pay-increases, buth these were BENEATH inflation percentages, if you check; ergo, pay DECREASES in terms of purchasing power.

    Croke Park Agreement should be SCRAPPED, but not for the popularly accepted reason. It does not, nor has it ever “protected” the salaries of teachers and other low-paid public servants; it protects the higher-paid ones. The ones that “matter”; the ones that call the shots with gubbermint. The CPA is very BAD for education and that is why all teachers bar 50.6% of primary teachers voted against it and the rest were dragged into it by their membership of ICTU (not-teachers deciding the working conditions of teachers? What other profession would allow that?).

    The CPA suits the pen-pushers/administrators in the DES as it decreases thair workload by adding 45hrs per teacher to the administration of schools, for pay-cut, not EVEN for FREE. It does NOTHING for education/learning.

    You are correct about the Union bosses. They got relativity with TDs and Secretaries General in the Civil Service from the Fitzpatrick report ’98 and from Benchmarking and Buckley, for selling-out the working members who hire them as private sector employees.

    That is what happened and you know it. I know it, because I was there. I was involved in the benchmarking process and was told by the (American) representative hired by Ireland to gather the data that, “if the performance/passion/enthusiasm/dedication of teachers in Ireland is considered, they will get a huge pay-rise from this”. That was the 2nd exercise. Teachers got 0%. The assertion by govt was that 12% was due to teachers, but the pension benefits they pay for, but enjoy, were worth 12%, so they get no more.

    This discounting for pensions (supposedly already factored into the FIRST benchmarking exercise) didn’t stop the same government from putting a massive extra levy on teachers’ pensions, when the banks were in crisis and someone had to pay for the banks’ gambling.

    It seems I have lapsed into a “History Lesson” here, so I’ll stop.

    Please don’t feed the govt/media/union-boss spin. The teaching profession is in crisis. Education is in crisis. Kids and their families are in crisis.

    The banking crisis has been transferred to them.

    You KNOW this.

    Kind regard to you, David, and all posters here,

    • wills


      Very informative post and I agree with all of it.

    • Hi Tim – Glad to hear from you . My wife took early retirement as a Deputy Principle on 31st Dec – she is glad to be out of the oncoming tSunami ….how long will pensions last from the annual national cash receipts &payments accounts ?

    • philomena

      Excellent response with analysis so sadly lacking by the media on Benchmarking. You should not apologize for any history lesson on Benchmarking either as the usual commentators just generalize with no real analysis at all.
      I found David’s article disappointing on a day when yet again 1.5bn is paid out to a private sector debt!

    • Tim,

      I have to say I am entirely in agreement with everything our host has to say in this article.

      “Croke Park Agreement should be SCRAPPED”. Isn’t *that* rather the point? As you point out, the Unions are looking after their own interests, the concept of a Union as a representative body is really a bad joke in a country as right-wing as Ireland. Pure mé-féiner-ism.

      I agree education in Ireland is in crisis. The difference between Ireland and, say, Norway, is that we’ve never decided what the hell it is that we want. What kind of education system, run by whom, on what basis? And the same for healthcare, for almost identical reasons.

      Those questions are still outstanding, but are separate from the hard economic fact that whatever we do will now have to be done with less money. This is inescapable, even with the best will in the world.

      I think it would be nice if educators, healthcare professionals and others in critical public sector roles could concentrate on what they want to achieve, instead of complaining about the banks (which will change nothing) or playing politics, everything in fact except demonstrating value. I have yet to see any coherent forward-looking positive vision emerge from any of these quarters.

      I accept that this sounds quite harsh and judgemental, but consider this: if a Union cannot help deliver on something as basic as this, then whats it for?

      Why would anybody associate themselves with such a useless organisation?


      +1 Tim, some very good points. There is, it has to be said an element of DMcW saying “look at all these mice, we must sort them out, yes, the ones beside the elephant” There are career civil servants, who left school with a good Leaving Cert, on multiples of teachers salaries and teachers are, at least, graduates. The imbalances within the Public Sector are often as bad as the imbalance between the Public and Private. Finally, the impression given here, of people cutting each others throats to get on the lifeboat, is quite scary because it’s indicative of a society being torn apart. Very depressing.

  14. BrianC

    Nice article David. I understand where you are coming from with you softly go gentle touch handling.

    However, let me give you the reality; get it on and stop the nambi pambi nonsense the public sector needs a wake up call. Those at the top need a dose of reality with a sledge hammer. The private sector funds the public sector. The public sector is out of line. The Croke Park agreement is a nonsense brought into play by idiotic politics promoted by Ahern et al. Kenny is in league with nonsense he was the very first to refuse pay cuts and for big Phil his personal circumstances did not allow for a wage cut at the moment.

    Let me give it to you straight nobody in the Dail is worth more than €500 a week the Senate €175. Those at the top of the public sector need to take a wage cut of at least 65% and that covers about half the public sector and the remaining half need to take at least a 30% cut. They need to scrap all and I mean all quangos. That will cut your €15bn deficit radically if not eliminate it completely and for those who do not like it there is always the dole which should not be cut and must not be increased.

    Stop the nonsense about honours and pass. The public service is full of honours people the only problem with a lot of them is that they do not understand the reality of the real world efficient management doing things the right way and effective management doing the right things (see P F Drucker). No!!!! what we have is a status quo where people are afraid to state the truth, so what does that promote, expecting change by doing the same thing over and over again. If you want an education try real life and tap into http://www.khanacademy.org.

    • C21living

      Absolutely +101 to the Khan Academy. It’s fantastic.

      And not a grumpy fat bitch teacher in sight! :)

      • AndrewGMooney

        I doubt the Khan Academy will be using your comment as an endorsement on promotional materials.

        Everyone has some residual issues from childhood. I regret you had a grumpy teacher, maybe it was their obesity that made them grumpy? Maybe it was sensing that some pupils lacked civility and respect and regarded them as a ‘bitch’?

        Good luck with the team building awayday tomorrow. I’m sure your contributions to the brainstorming sessions will be as welcome as ever.


    • AndrewGMooney

      paraphrase: ‘those at the top of the banking sector need to take a wage cut of at least 65%……’

      to paraphrase the Margaret Thatcher socialism quote:

      ‘The problem with ‘capitalism’ is that bankers eventually run out of other people’s money’ ..

      ‘the reality of the real world efficient management doing things the right way and effective management doing the right things’: Fingleton. Seanie. ROFLMAO, etc.

      • C21living


        Is your point that bankers are selfish?

        Is there even one person left on this planet who doesn’t know that? I doubt it.

        What about Teachers and their Unions, defending salaries way above the EZ average.

        No pal, don’t even bother spinning some sh*te about how ‘bankers this’ or ‘bankers that’. We know, we know, we know, we know!!!!

        What about teachers – salaries above EZ average, that’s ok is it?

        They’re one of US , unlike the bankers and lizard men from Mars who are THEM?

        • AndrewGMooney

          Us vs Them. Binary Thinking. Splitting. Divide and Rule.

          Who are the lizard men from Mars? Is this some new Illuminati expose? Does ‘bonbon’ know about this? I expect he’s busy terraforming Mars in his dreams right now. Bless!

          • C21living

            Housing expenses?


            Irish property is falling faster than anywhere else in Europe.

            But we should still pay exhorbitant salaries to public sector workers because they made a balls of their personal finances by buying massively overpriced houses?

            We should pay for their mistakes?

            I think you’ll find your opinion will go down like a lead balloon in Ireland right now.

            Housing prices are very, very reasonable in Ireland.

            Unless you still live in Celtic Tiger la-la land, that is.

        • AndrewGMooney

          ‘What about teachers — salaries above EZ average, that’s ok is it?’

          You are comparing Euro salaries but you are not comparing housing and living expenses. These expenses were bid up by an avalanche of cheap money created from thin air by, yes: bankers.

          House prices are dictated by the availability of bank credit. That’s why so many people gave up trying to save a traditional deposit and plunged in. I fully understand why prudent savers and thrifty mortgagees are incandescent that their spendthrift neighbour may have to be bailed out.

          But I don’t remember mortgage-free pensioners taking to the streets to protest that their windfall property gains had imprisoned the generations below in a credit-debt quagmire, do you?

          Trans-generational warfare,is another unexamined aspect of the nightmarish collapse that’s coming. And it’s going to get very, very scary over the next couple of years. I cannot see how it’s possible to avoid a complete discontinuity/collapse.

          Croke Park is unsustainable because it was conceived at a time when today’s reality would have been seen as yet more deranged Cassandra doom-mongering.

          Croke Park is unsustainable, but accussing teachers of ganging up on the public purse by threatening the use of a legal right to strike when the banks and bondholders held a gun to the nations’ head is risible.

          Taxpayer funded socialism for the rich.

          Corporate Capitalist risk backstopped by the poor.

          My point isn’t that bankers are greedy, but that they their model of reality has collapsed around their ears, yet they still expect deference and to be taken seriously. Ain’t gonna happen.

          • C21living

            Housing expenses?


            Irish property is falling faster than anywhere else in Europe.

            But we should still pay exhorbitant salaries to public sector workers because they made a balls of their personal finances by buying massively overpriced houses?

            We should pay for their mistakes?

            I think you’ll find your opinion will go down like a lead balloon in Ireland right now.

            Housing prices are very, very reasonable in Ireland.

            Unless you still live in Celtic Tiger la-la land, that is.

          • AndrewGMooney


            yes: housing expenses.

            bank credit and artificial land scarcity bid up house prices, which fuelled wage demands, which allowed further escalation of bids on development land and houses, which fuelled wage demands.

            paraphrase: ‘But we should still pay exhorbitant salaries to banking sector workers because they made a balls of their corporate finances by lending on massively overpriced houses? We should pay for their mistakes?’

            You write: ‘Housing prices are very, very reasonable in Ireland’.

            They may yet spiral down to become even more reasonable, which will no doubt thrill you: until the banks have to be bailed out again.

            ‘How low can house prices go?’


            You do not seem to be considering just how destructive this could become.

      • BrianC

        Hi Andrew

        I appreciate your reply. But I think you are missing the main point. If you believe you can malign the the tenet of effective management …..etc by avering to Fingleton and Seanie then you are wrong. Do you really think they showed true leadership in their actions. Do you really think they understood ‘doing things the right way and doing the right things’. Do you really think Ahern et al the present incumbent understand this tenet.

        I don’t think you understand. That is a great pity. It is only when everyone understands that true change will really manifest.

        The public sector is insulated from the real market forces that demand change. When in the private sector that interfaces directly market forces if you fail to be aware of these forces and respond instantly all the time then you do so at your peril and you will not survive. Governments and Public sectors have no real understanding about this they do not know about creating value and managing it so that it remains meaningful. This does not mean they are bad it just means they are ignorant.

        So just to make one final point if you think that Seanie and Fingleton are a reflection of the tenet averred to then you need to sharpen up your intellect.

        • AndrewGMooney


          Who manages the managers?

          Fingleton and Fitzpatrick were nearly universally revered before their dysfunctional mismanagement ‘style’ was exposed. They were enabled in their incompetence by a complete lack of appropriate feedback from the ‘light-touch’ regulatory framework of Neary, Lenihan and Ahern.

          It is impossible to effectively supervise senior management through shareholder discipline unless the regulatory architecture is robust.

          Some sectors of the private economy do indeed live or die in a financial Darwinian jungle. However, there are numerous examples of anti-competitive collusion and conspiracy whereby supposedly competing private enterprises have, in fact, been operating in a collective cartel.

          ‘“People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.”
          Adam Smith. ‘The Wealth of Nations’

          Thanks for the advice about increasing my intellectual powers. I will try to fit in more crosswords and suduko into my hectic schedule.

          I’m retreating to a monastery until the Fiscal Compact Referendum is concluded so I won’t be able to respond to you further on this topic.


          • BrianC

            You still don’t get it. But that’s ok. Retreat all you want.

            You are absolutely right about having a robust regulatory structure in place.

            If the civil service did their job as they are supposed to then none of this would have happened that is the Irish Govt would not have acted as they stupidly did and would have known there was no onus on them to pick up private debt and socialise it given banks lent on irrational grounds moved off the simple 3Cs character collater and capacity especially foreign banks. It is very simple. And economists et al can try to make any excuses that they like and even try to make it more complicated to veil the truth..inability of Irish officials to do their jobs.

            The people who were signing of the accounts of the banks were not ignorant and they knew that the Anglo Irish accounts were not a true reflection of the true facts yet they signed them off. So my final point is this there were regulatory protocols in place but the Civil Service and those in the regulatory authorities were not doing their jobs why should they when someone else can do it for them given that they are free from sanctions for non performance. And the teachers of this country simply reflect this.

  15. David – Always when I read your books and articles there is a clear visible line of thought that is not all your own…..its your mothers discipline in the art she taught you …you have been very lucky.

  16. Sorry David. This is bollocks.

    Listen to your readers man!

    Get a handle on that barometer

    • C21living

      No PaulDiv

      There’s no money for handouts to state workers. Full stop! There just i-s-n-t a-n-y m-o-n-e-y.

      DMcW isn’t a commentor to cheer on the workers against the baddies in politics/the banks/Troika/etc. He’s viewing the thing in the round.

      Forget ideology. There’s no money.

      • AndrewGMooney

        The reason there’s ‘no money’ is precisely as a result of ideology. You, of course, have no ‘ideology’. *rollseyes*

        • C21living

          You better have voted SF or you’re a hypocrite.

          • AndrewGMooney

            I don’t reside in the state. I don’t have a vote. I spent enough time in Kilmainham in my past life. I’m not sure i’m up for martyrdom again.

            Anyway, I’m not really Irish, I’m a mutant hybrid:

            “I was born on a boat on the Irish sea, between Hollyhead’n'Dun Laoghaire”

            I am The Outsider.

            I’m not really looking forward to having to set up the Second Irish Republic in 2016. I accept my fate as Taoiseach of The Fifth Province’ but it’s quite tiring!

            Let’s just get Collapse over and done with, then I can rise to power and global, religious, trans-historical significance.

            I’m not even sure if I’ll agree to a Parliamentary Democracy. I may have to consider more extreme measures. Let’s wait and see. McWilliams is onside, on message, on board. Obviously, he can’t say so publicly, but it’s an open secret that this website was actually set up to proivde me with a pathway to power.

            Now, you get some proper sleep, you’re not making sense on this thread. I’m sure your heart’s in the right place, but people need to come together for the turmoil and chaos ahead.

          • C21living

            The people will ‘come together’ when teachers take a hit for the team.

            Respect where respect is due.

            We’re not going to listen to your ‘come together’ waffle if that basically means defending a vested interest group.

            Did you ever hear of shooting an informer?

            What I’m talking about is very, very serious business indeed. What I’m talking about goes back hundreds of years in Ireland, at least to 1167 and the Anglo-Norman invasion.

            The teachers are in it for themselves. Now the public want them to walk the plank, because they’re traitors.

            This stuff is as old as the hills.

          • AndrewGMooney

            guns, shootings, informers, traitors,’a hit for the team.’

            this is irresponsible and inflammatory language.

            how on earth can ‘teachers be traitors’? what has the Norman invasion got to do with it? is it something to do with the way Irish History is taught by teachers? Are you saying that the curriculum is traitorous? How? Why?

            (scratches head)

      • Did I mention handouts, the troika and ideology?

      • “There is no money” LOL.

        Sure the ECB just printed shiploads of the stuff and the stupid Irish government keeps feeding billions of Euros into a black hole

        The place is awash with cash man

  17. Paris75013

    Don’t agree with you that education is in crisis. It is the teachers who are going through a crisis. There is a digital education revolution taking place in the classroom and the teachers need to embrace this challenge. I recently met a few Irish teachers who thought that the whole thing was about having interactive white boards installed in their classrooms. They hadn’t really thought about using/developing digital resources and integrating all of this into their lesson plans. They have no real vision of what is really happening, and how education will work in coming years.

    • peterlydon

      You haven’t been looking properly. There are plenty of teachers doing their best to embrace the digital revolution in education and at their own expense. Most companies, where it is relevant, provide their employees with one-to-one computers. Not so education. The fact is that the government, whose track record in things digital has been a laughing stock, only ever paid half-ignornant lip service to the notion of embedding ICT in learning and teaching. the lack of investment in education resources in Ireland is one of the lowest in the OECD. No investment, no return.

      • C21living

        You’re obviously a teacher.

        I learned French on BBC languages website for free, et maintenant j’ai une très bonne matrîse de la language, la grammaire et le vocabulaire les deux.

        We just don’t need teachers in quite the same way as before. It’s true, so many courses these days are online. 12-24 weeks.

        • AndrewGMooney

          Not all children have a computer at home. Not all homes with computers can afford internet access. Some children with neither computers nor internet access have classes where the teacher has no access to a computer.

          Why have you learned French? Are you interested in the French education system? Do you think Ireland should move closer to that model?

          Are you suggesting the teacher becomes a technology facilitator rather than an inspirational pedagogue?

          • C21living

            I’m following DMcW in suggesting that the Unionized Irish teachers are going to be cut down to size soon. Cut down closer to the EZ average pay scale, as befits a bankrupt country.

            I stand by that.

          • C21living

            What a laughable, Dickensian remark in one of the richest countries in the world.

            “Some of the childer don’t have computers”. FFS they nearly all have smartphones which they twitter under the desk, while massively overpaid teachers try half-heartedly to teach them and nobody’s successfully teaching or learning anything.

          • AndrewGMooney

            Yes, all children in Ireland have smartphones. Everyone got rich in the boom. Finglas and Ballyfermot just vanished into a yuppy haze. And a smartphone opens the gates to wisdom and knowledge so we can close all those redundant public librares. And schools.

            Damien Dempsey:

            ‘Well, we’ve had 15 years now of economic boom in Ireland and I just feel that a lot of the money that has been generated has gone into the pockets of the upper classes. It hasn’t trickled down. If you go into a hospital for instance, there are third world countries that have better services. Our hospitals are in chaos. If we really have this boom, you’d think a lot of money would have gone back into education and health, but it hasn’t. So that’s why I have a bit of a gripe with the Celtic Tiger.’

          • AndrewGMooney

            ‘I’m following DMcW in suggesting that the Unionized Irish teachers are going to be cut down to size soon. Cut down closer to the EZ average pay scale, as befits a bankrupt country.

            I stand by that.’

            No mention of the Spanish Practices of the Garda and the Judiciary….Pravda RTE. The Dail and the Sinead?

            They’re all public sector. You were traumatised at school. I feel for you. But you’re exhibiting ‘confirmation bias’, not looking at the bigger picture.

          • AndrewGMooney


            ‘What a laughable, Dickensian remark in one of the richest countries in the world.’

            Cognitive dissonance. Elsewhere you say the country is bankrupt? Which is it? One of the ‘richest’, or bankrupt?

            What do you mean by ‘richest’? Current GDP/income or accumulated physical and human infrastructural weath to provide future wealth? Income and wealth are not the same thing:

            ‘Ireland did not become wealthy during boom -’


          • C21living

            They all have smartphones in Finglas and Ballyfermot, YES!!!

            You obviously don’t live here.

    • Linux and Free Software in Schools.

  18. Paris75013


    Listen to your readers!
    This is one of your best articles.

    A reader.

  19. dwalsh

    David knows very well it is the job of unions to do their best for their members. Even if he wont say it, he knows it.

    The unions and the teachers know it too; just as they know what the real situation is economically; and how utterly inequitable it is; and in fact downright criminal.

    Is David seriously suggesting they should publicly announce at their national conference that they are going to lay down and roll over and obediently take the medicine handed down by the Troika?

    And does anyone who knows anything about the global crisis believe the cant about it being the outcome of natural economic laws and market cycles as proclaimed by apologists like David?

    There is much in this article I find objectionable; take this for instance:

    “A low-wage objective is hardly the way to run a society.”

    It is if you are a trans-national corporation!
    And that is precisely what the IMF imposes on behalf of its corporate masters everywhere it inflicts its austere remedies.

    And what is emerging in all of this?
    A global corporate coup.

    Futhermore, was it necessary to insult the teaching profession and individual teachers with this remarke:

    “However, it must be said loudly – particularly because sometimes teachers aren’t the best listeners.”

    Maybe the schoolboy in David was getting his back for all the times teachers told him to shut up and listen.
    Quid pro quo.

    I am not a teacher; nor are my parents nor siblings; although my parental grandparents were.

    • philomena

      Excellent response with analysis so sadly lacking by the media on Benchmarking. You should not apologize for any history lesson on Benchmarking either as the usual commentators just generalize with no real analysis at all.
      I found David’s article disappointing on a day when yet again 1.5bn is paid out to a private sector debt!

      • philomena

        Above comment was a reply to another response, apologies but I also agree very much with your points too. I was very disappointed with David’s article and agree that any union has to defend its members pay and conditions. What other group would accept a third pay cut willingly? And before we have a response from a self employed person struggling to survive, I have sympathy for them too but just wish some business person would admit that they did well in the boom!

        • C21living

          We’re coming to get you Philomena.

          I’m talking about the Irish citizenry who never chose to live their lives hiding in the public sector “permanent and pensionable” cupboard.

          The entire public sector is paid above the EZ average.

          Your salaries are all coming down, in the coming years. Probably quite abruptly.

          This is the point of DMcW’s article.

        • dwalsh

          Thank you Phenomena.

          You got your expected response from the dupes in the private sector who believe the teachers and other public service workers are responsible for the collapse off the global economy. I guess they are so dim and short sighted they cant see beyond their neighbours; so they blame them and attack them. As he said:

          “We’re coming to get you Phenomena”

          A truly disgraceful comment; profoundly ignorant of the real facts of our national and global situation.

          The oligarchs will be delighted with such ignorance and fratricidal belligerence among the peasantry. Divide and conquer is a key weapon in their armoury.

          • C21living

            What a despicable remark!

            Right – I’m a regular wage earner.

            Give me a salary of 150% the EZ average and show you’re solidarity with me!!

        • Colin


          You make a very good case for Unions to be taken on head on. Yeah, sure if I’m a member of a prominent golf club, I’d expect the management to do its best for its members by keeping out the riff raff, make and keep silly rules about what clothes you can wear, how many clubs you can take out with you, about where you’re allowed to park your car, or the correct way to greet the President. But I choose not to join such a club.

          And here’s some news for you from the real world, planet earth, private sector employees are more than happy to take a pay cut if it means there’s a better chance of being kept in a job.

    • redriversix

      Morning All

      1.5 Billion euro unsecured bond paid yesterday………….!

      I lost everything ,but before that I had my children in a private school.I took them out cos I could no longer afford fee’s.

      I sent them to Newpark in Blackrock and I should have sent them there from the beginning,”what a great school for kids”!

      They are now doing 90% honor subjects and enthusiastic about school.It is amazing the little miracles that can happen in rough times.

      I left school at 15 because I was told I was only wasting their time,went to a CBC school and was beaten by some of the finest minds in the Country !

      The unions need to stand up and tell their members the truth,their is no money…………But they will never do that as lying and spin is now the norm while honesty and truth is frowned upon as recklessness…………

      People need to waken up as things are only going to get worse……that is not a negative statement,just a fact…..you do not need to be a genius to figure this out unless you believe in the excellent management skills of our puppet Government.!

      Take care,do a budget,put yourself and your family first.Scrap fear.Today is the start of the rest of your life…what are you gonna do.?


      • molly66

        Hi great and nail on the head.
        We need people like you to run this country,because if we don’t we are doomed when you see what we put in the driving seat it won’t be to much longer befor we crash and burn.

    • Excellent comments

      The word ‘schoolboy’ seems to be frequently appearing on the blog lately

      Maybe it is because people have woken up and after some simple computation came to the conclusion that many of the opinion formers in Ireland are just chancers who got lucky and had the balls to believe their own bullshit!

  20. John Q. Public

    Bloody school teachers. They got huge salary increases years ago before house prices rocketed and most of them had their mortgages paid off. These bloody unions have crippled the country and made us uncompetitive. Each salary hike from nurses, guards or firemen puts up the average industrial wage. That’s why DELL left our shores.

    • peterlydon

      Actually the biggest reason for Dell leaving was exorbitant energy costs. All the other bit are equally unrepresentative of the situation.

      • C21living

        Do you reckon you’re winning friends and influencing people Peter?

        • peterlydon

          Ah, If only it was that simple. Facts are so annoying. Much better for the media to throw out a few mis-directions – like the Examiners’ story the other day about teachers being on ’100,000 to 150,000′ a year – and to let Joe and Mary Public fight it out with teachers to keep us all occupied and distracted from the real problems with the country.

          • C21living

            You’re overpaid by EZ standards. The nation is broke. The decision to pay the bondholders is upheld by FF, FG and Labour.

            How many teachers vote SF? Practically none. So YOUR party is paying the bondholders pal.

            YOUR party is paying the bondholders and that means we have no money left to pay you more than the EZ average for what you do, which I’ll wager is worse quality work than EZ average.

            As I mentioned elsewhere, we are coming for you. You know it too.

        • AndrewGMooney

          Do YOU think you’re winning friends and influencing people, C21living?

          ‘We’re coming to get you Philomena.’

          ‘As I mentioned elsewhere, we are coming for you. You know it too.’

          Ah, yes. The art of reasoned persuasion…


          • C21living


            Do you doubt that?

            Wait and see.

          • C21living

            I don’t have to ‘win friends and influence people’ because I’m not Ms teacher Marie Antoinette.

            I’m in the crowd with the guillotine. I’m part of the Terror, as far as teachers’ pay, politicians pay, all public sector pay is concerned.

            Cut it down to EZ average! Off with their big heads!

          • C21living

            And as for bankers, just off with their heads in the literal sense!

          • dwalsh

            This C21living seems to want to cut off everyones heads.
            Robespierre how are ye!
            Awful stuff. At a time the nation needs to be united this kind of poison is shameful.

          • dwalsh

            Whatever about cutting off other peoples heads…
            C21living should hang his/her head…in shame.

  21. Paris75013

    I agree there is a lack of investment in education resources in Ireland. Of course, there is since all the money is being spent on the teachers salaries!
    But something has to be done quite soon, as the present system is too outdated.
    Social technology has its place in education and can be adapted to the needs and levels of pupils/students.
    It is the parents and students themselves who are “introducing” their children to online educational resources. The teachers are way behind.

    • peterlydon

      If only it was. Certainly most of the money spent on schools goes on salaries but this highlights how little goes on resources – esp. compared to nearly every other OECD country.
      There is some places where social technology can be used but there are also many pitfalls as the recent Oatlands College issue showed.
      There is no doubt that many teachers are behind when it comes to ICT but my position is that this is not necessarily their fault. If the government had taken the correct approach in 2000, we would have been well down the line on ICT in the curriculum.
      That said, ICT is just one methodology than can be used in the classroom.

    • philomena

      Are you for real, you obviously have no idea about the use of online educational resources in school! Laptops and other equipment paid for by teachers out of their after tax income with no tax write-offs etc! For years teachers used their own equipment to update teaching methods while people like you lectured them including Noel Dempsey Minister of Education who was so out of touch with a modern classroom because the DES hardly funded modern technology!

      • C21living

        Do you reckon we could care less about your cry-baby “out of pocket” expenses?

        You molly-coddled craddle-to-grave permanent and pensionable public sector workers really know how to win friends and influence people with your petulant snipping, I must say.

        Of with your heads! 20-30% pay cut immediately.

        As DMcW says, it’s only a matter of time.

        • C21living

          And if you don’t like it, we’ll bring in Filipinos to replace you.

          At least they don’t huff and puff and throw their weight around we a sense of entitlement and self-importance like cindarella’s ugle sisters.

          • AndrewGMooney


            You appear to be in crisis. Is this a cry for help? How can we help you?

            You shared your childhood educational traumas earlier in this thread in a very moving way, but your emotional ventilation does not appear to be helping you.

            I am concernd by your Alice In Wonderland reference:

            ‘She is a foul-tempered monarch, that Carroll himself pictured as “a blind fury”, and who is quick to decree death sentences at the slightest offense. Her most famous line, one which she repeats often, is “Off with their heads!”

            You then berate the ‘ugly sisters’. Clearly, this is related to your childhood trauma with the ‘fat bitch’ teacher, is it not?

            I do not understand the Filipino reference, but I hope that Imelda Marcos is not part of your disturbed iconography. Perhaps your are linking Cinderellas’ slipper to the Fillipino dictators shoe closet?

            Make sure you are getting enough sleep.


          • C21living

            You don’t even live in Ireland, you twat.


          • AndrewGMooney

            ‘You don’t even live in Ireland, you twat. Next!’

            Neither do several contributors to this blog who have had to emmigrate from Ireland for economic survival. I advise you not to wander round Dublin airport calling folk ‘twats’ in the departure lounge.

            And don’t tell people in the local pub that you think mass immigration of Fillipino teachers has to happen because you are going to get rid of the Irish ones in ‘The Terror’.

            Morgan Kelly warned us of an Irish Tea Party, but he didn’t warn us to prepare for an Irish Mad Hatters’ Tea Party.

            ‘Ireland’s Last Growth Industry: Pitchforks and Torches’


          • Colin

            What’s this about an Irish Tea Party? Sure Pravda RTE & The Paper of Record will destroy it before it’s even born, dragging it into an abortion clinic for termination.

            And what’s dear old Morgan afraid will happen? Will his pay be affected? Or will he be asked to work more than 6 hours a week? Or take less than 6 months holidays a year? What has put the fear of God into Professor Morgan ‘I called it right in 2006′ Kelly?

          • AndrewGMooney


            Morgan Kellys balanced budget discussed here:


            ‘Is Morgan Kelly right when he says that he should, by reference to European norms, take a pay cut to 50% salary?’

          • Colin


            Yes, I think we should go down that road, cut in salary for Morgan from €150k to €60k. €60k is enough to live on, and sure maybe he makes money on the side from writing newspaper columns or giving public lectures, and sure maybe the missus works, so, in other words, he won’t starve.

            No one in Ireland should starve. It will just mean lifestyle changes. No foreign holidays, no nights out on the piss, no more money for fags, no tickets for live music events, walking to the shop instead of driving etc….

          • AndrewGMooney

            @ Colin.

            ‘Should’ implies moral imperative and choice. There may be no such choice for Ireland, as the Greek nation is finding out.

            This dark necessity is what David is alluding to in this article. His language is calm, avoiding panic. But swans appear calm on the surface, whereas underneath there is furious energy in motion to move forward.

            When the ‘implosion’ happens, whether as a result of accepting draconian austerity in the Euro or rejecting it for the chaotic re-birth of the punt: the clueless classes in Ireland will decree it a ‘black swan’ event. Who could’ve, would’ve thunk it? Well, serveral people on this site spotted the ‘gray swan’ probability of such an outcome as inexorably emerging as a fractal from the botched ‘rescue’ of the banking system in Oct 2008.

            I cannot envisage a slow, grinding orderly deflation over time as the propaganda of the Troika postulates. Canada is the only country I can think of that managed an ‘expansionary fiscal contraction’: by exporting into a booming US.

            Careful what you wish for, Colin. It might be a rather more visceral experience than just ‘missing a few live gigs’.

    • AndrewGMooney

      The English Blackberry Riots of 2011 were certainly an ‘education’ in social technology……and how proactive schoolchildren are in edukatin themselves when there’s free shoppin’, innit?

      Thank God Ireland remained calm.

      Let’s hope those seditious teachers don’t discover Twitter and Facebook and take to the streets with twisted remixes of punk anthems:

      ‘Whiteboard Riot, i wanna riot!
      Whiteboard Riot: wanna riot of my own!
      Blackboard people gotta lot a problems…’

      If teachers do riot in Dublin, David McWilliams will have to explain himself. Why is he making anti-social punk rock videos about ‘economics’, which all begin with him engaged in anti-social graffitti spraying, crude territorial pissings.

      Is that an example to troubled youngsters and their teachers? Is it responsible? I have my doubts.

      If you watch these videos, it is clear that there is some sort of ‘subliminal message’ hidden in the images and words. I haven’t played the audio backwards, but i suspect there are demonic call to sedition and uprising therein.

      This article has David, once again, pretending to be the voice of establishment reason: whilst sowing seeds of discord and disharmony amongst his credulous followers.

      Hasn’t he done enough damage? Having trashed the housing market, he now seeks to bring down the education system?

      But for what purpose? What is his ‘endgame’?

      • C21living

        “If teachers riot in Dublin”!

        They wouldn’t come out in the rain!

        • Colin

          They’d prefer to be giving grinds at €40 per hour, into the back pocket thanks very much mr taxman, than going out catching a cold at a protest. Or then there’s that villa in the South of France or Croatia which needs to be visited and inhabited in to make it worthwhile and then to tell all the other teachers about the great time you had out there afterwards in the staff room.

          • AndrewGMooney

            That villa in Croatia might come in handy as a ‘doomstead’ if things pan out as I suspect / fear they may.

            There’s a bigger picture, Colin.

          • Adam Byrne

            Don’t be silly Andy, Croatia is never going to be remote and safe enough for Colin (and David) to escape to. With your knowledge you should know that it’s going to be one of the first places to ‘erupt’. Far better the Caribbean… I have a nice piece of land down there and access to more, answers on a postcard to…

          • Adam Byrne

            Don’t be silly Andy, Croatia is never going to be remote and safe enough for Colin (and David) to escape to. With your knowledge you should know that it’s going to be one of the first places to ‘erupt’. Far better the Caribbean… I have a nice piece of land down there and access to more, answers on a postcard to…

  22. MjHi

    Fantastic article David & very brave.I am pro teacher as well.I have 4 children 3 in school & I feel that not matter how much they get paid they will be underpaid. As a former member of the sme group I agree about the wages in the boom.My company suffered greatly with this & sadly I closed it in 2010.I have lost every thing since including my marriage & health.I am trying to start again but my debts are preventing me.I think your view of the teachers is correct but they are not the only ones in the public sector that are going to be affected. I am very worried however that the public sector is going to have to be destroyed.I dont know how this can be properly managed without such an event. Also our political class will need to make larger sacrifices themselves if they expect the public sector to make more sacrifices.

  23. george

    Irish teachers have almost three months summer holidays, plus Christmas Holidays, midterm break, Easter holidays, and are among, if not the best paid in Europe. I have great respects for teachers with a good attitude, and I find specially that the ones in the Inner City or in small rural areas tend to complaint very little, but a majority of the better to do areas, were during the boom time absolutely unbearable, as if they had concerted their efforts to complaint on the airwaves, or in social functions, how much they work and how little they were paid, and with that attitude I doubt anyone could do their job properly.

    From approximately ten teachers I personally know, only one told me “I LOVE MY JOB”, and another recognised that she was in it because they had better holidays than anyone else in the country…the rest thought the success of the Country was exclusively down to them, and wanted even more money for their work. I stopped inviting a friend of mine, who is a teacher, to my house, who this year is taking early retirement and a lump sum and a fat pension, because I couldn’t tolerate anymore his attitude.
    There are small Irish Entrepreneurs, working 65 hours a week, that are giving employment to many families, and are unable to take more than a weekend holiday in the year, that get less than a well paid secondary teacher, and none of their perks, and that have to create work out of thin air with no guarantees from week to week. And are paying through their taxes, and effort, all the benefits many people in the Public Sector are getting, doing a job that is theirs for life. Did somebody see the program where George Lee goes to Finland to research about the Finish Educational System, and the role teachers play in it and in society, and how much they are paid in comparison to here?
    I wonder if somebody does a comparative study with other European Countries where pay, working hours, pensions, holidays, and retirement money, is considered, how our teachers in the different levels of education compare.
    Anyway the socioeconomic policies of this country in 2011 are fundamentally wrong and gear to protect the Elite, the Public Sector, the Professional Class (doctors, lawyers, and others), the big Corporations, and specially the Banks, who among all are granted benefits, that the small Irish Entrepreneurs creating products, jobs, and wealth, hardly get.

    At this stage this Country has to be restructured in such a radical way, that the teachers’ issue seems like children’s play. And I guess after the good and obedient majority of Irish Citizens, will vote yes for the next coming referendum, this Country will be like Greece. And then who will be left holding the baby? Who is going to have to tell the Public Sector that the cake has shrunk, and the guys at the top don’t want to share with them? And who is going to have to tell the wider population, that there isn’t enough money for social welfare, and health services? And who is going to have to tell the middle classes that they’ll have to pay for all, because the poor don’t have enough, the rich (banks, corporations, non resident and resident millionaires, and some world known rock stars), don’t want to pay?
    It is true we are not Iceland where politicians and regulators where brought to Court, where probably the Attorney General didn’t oppose the reduction in salaries of the Public Sector, where bondholders were given small worthless papers call shares, of almost bankrupted Banks, where true patriotism allowed the Government to save the social structures of the Country making the ones who has the most to pay the most, where they have back a well organised society looking to the future with optimism. We are a Country full of myths and legends, trying to convince the world that the smart economy start with us, here in this Island.

    • peterlydon

      The studies have been done. Irish teacher have above-OECD-average classroom contact. Unlike, say the UK, we don’t get credit/recognition/pay for non-contact work such as reports, preparation, corrections, extra-curricular stuff.
      Sure we get longer holidays. But we also have longer days. I think there would be many benefits to going to the OECD norm. Of course it would mean parents would have to pick their kids up earlier from school or pay a baby sitter. Actually, baby sitters are paid better than teachers.

      Teachers in Finland are the second highest paid professionals there. But most importantly – they are respected and not attacked at every opportunity. They are given the resources to do the job they are asked to do. They have NO inspection system. Parents respect and work with them. And the Finnish government works WITH the unions to improve education.

      Small Irish entrepreneurs make their choices like everyone else. Every choice has pros and cons. It is easy to criticize others’ better choices when one’s choices turn out poor – as many teacher regarded theirs during the boom. Seriously, should a carpet sales person who left school 15 get paid more than a teacher with an MA? Who cares? There are different choices. But the one thing they have in common is that no one could argue they should both pay for the gambling debts of bond holders.

      We don’t have money. But before taking it off teachers, we need to taken it off the wasters.

      • MjHi

        People who leave school at 15 should be let accomplish what they want.We live in a free market economy & if someone with less education does well they should be paid more as they are less of a burden on the state.I worked for a man that could neither read or write & he had a vegetable round in 1973.He is on the Irish rich now & I for one would admire him for his accomplishments. Having an education shouldnt mean you are entitled to success.That smacks of privilege.

        • peterlydon

          You’r perfectly right. It’s not about educational attainment per se, but rather return on investment. All work is honorable. But this is not the point. The point is people complaining about teachers having secure work while everyone else is losing theirs (for example). No one was complaining about teachers job security during the Celtic Tiger because they were too busy living luxurious life styles (when credit or cash financed) that teachers could only dream of. One can have one’s cake and eat it but this position lacks integrity – the very thing that has done this country in.

          • MjHi

            Peter not me & there are many like me.I have lost everything & had only a living from what I worked at.I didnt want to be a millionaire I just loved what I did. However that has no bearing on this article. The truth is we are running out of money. I think the irish banks will go bust & maybe everyone in the country is going to be like me having to start from zero.That is pretty frightening & I hope it doesnt happen but its not looking good.The biggest problem we have is the public sector its too expensive.I do agree that teachers are not paid enough but we cant afford to pay any more.Now we can argue this all we want but it is a fact.Now if the public sector which has made a lot sacrifices gives us a book balancing excercise we have fixed the problem.However if they dont the government is going to have to dish harse medicine. Now I know all about the bankers & high ranking civil servants but we will still have to deal with the public sector.I am asking as a citizen & previously an employer to see the facts no more no less & as citizens to try & fix our wrecked country.If you want the political class to do it we will be in recession for 30 years.

        • peterlydon


          You put that (post below) very reasonably and there is nothing really to argue about it. I think the Euro is stuffed but Germany & France *is* doing everything it can to save it otherwise their economies will be wrecked also. We should have a Plan B ready to go…a replacement currency etc.
          Things are very tight for me at the moment; they were never great. We made a deliberate decision to buy a house we thought we could finance on half a salary in case my private sector wife lost here job which she did. By not being flahulach we have survived so far and my kids aren’t starving. There are things that I will have to cut as time goes on and on one level this is Ok. But the issue is the piecemeal fashion in which everything is being done. Effectively – one section of society will be impoverished before any other rather than spreading the load avengingly in one go. Croke Park is a joke for many reasons. One caveat – should teachers have access to a ‘permanent job’ ? – absolutely; for many reasons but I don’t think they should be insulated from a reduction in salary…so long as this is in line with a broader reduction in salaries/increase in taxes and a lowering of costs across the board. This is one instance of where selling of State assets will come back to bite us.
          The top 5% have seen their *real* incomes *increase* since 2007. This is nuts. Different story if self-employed etc but the point is the burden should not fall to one or two groups in society. I have pretty strong social conscience but any society without social justice is not worth supporting. Show me the social justice and I’ll sign on the dotted line.

          • MjHi

            There is no social justice im afraid & I empathise with you however what will happen If we dont make the changes ourselves.I agree about France & Germany but their day is coming hard & fast & Germany is performing well but as we know all good things come to an end & then we may seek to put our stamp on it.But even without the banking crisis this country cannot pay for the massive public bill or maybe you have another way.I not seeking to punish the public sector in any way I just want the country run properly & that includes politicians pay & bankers pay.I think this can be done & the quicker its done the safer the public sector will be.Im afraid of waking up some day & the money wont be there to run it.

      • StephenKenny

        Should a waster with an MA get paid more than a waster with a PhD?

        The problem with cutting waste is simply that one believes that their job is a waste. Waste is always someone else.

        • Deco

          We have an institutional state that ensures that a lot of people (and a lot of non-state vested interests) are able to prevent their gravy being regarded as waste.

          In essence, politics has made the economic system unworkable.

        • peterlydon


          That’s a different definition of waster, but nonetheless, wasters should not be given anything. The biggest wasters in the State are the politicians and their golden circle of friends and relatives who have used the State to line their own and others pockets.
          One may ‘believe’ and even ‘honestly believe’ that one’s own action do not constitute waste but one has to have reasonable grounds for that belief. Their could have been No reasonable grounds to belief the Garda Computer network, the medical network, electronic voting, paying 10 times the market rate for Thorton Hall, paying 10 million more than the offer price for Farmleigh and on and on – no reasonable ground to be believe these were anything other than serious waste.
          Irish people are very fair and charitable when its put to them but asking them to take cuts when the wealthier are getting wealthier is asking a bit much. (no.nothing wrong with ‘rich’ people – just the relative difference between the haves and have nots vis-a-vs social stability).

        • Bamboo

          On the PHD subject. Is there anybody among the posters who finished their PHD this year or last year found a job? A Job that pays according to the expectations they had when they started the PHD?

  24. There is no necessary fight between labour and capital on the score of wages. Both need to understand that more than one-third of the economy–publicly-generated land and natural resource rents, the natural revenue base–is largely stolen by the almost invisible 0.1%, the rent-seeking rentier class who claim economic rent to be only 1% of the economy. http://thedepression.org.au/?p=7812

    There’s a tax switch waiting to be found if we only have the wit – a switch from labour and capital and onto land and resource holding. It won’t affect Joe Sixpack as much as the 0.01% (who’d cry blue murder! of course) and labour and capital could BOTH retrieve their earnings stolen by the taxman.

  25. ianhady

    David you on the point, I teach in the special Ed area, I expect my wages to be cut in Jan 2013 10%+, but I fear if the CP deal stands until 2014 there’ll be a need for a 25-30% cut in civil service wages and that’s just for the mortals on 60k or less. Today I informed my mortgage provider that I want interest only payments for six months, giving me time to pay off other outstanding loans which I have consolidated with HSSCU, I’m getting my finances in order before years end, I agree some people need to wake up and smell the reality coming down the track, printing more and more euro, just weakens it’s value. We can resolve this with collective loan restructuring and write downs along side relative wage devaluing. We are running out of time ;-(

  26. Deco

    I know this might sound like a fairly blunt statement to a lot of people in Ireland, but there is a push to turn the education system into the new HSE.

    Performance is faltering all over the place. The current and previous two ministers have responded by a strategy of apply the best PR stunt available. And the whole thing will end up being a mess.

    And I think that at this point in time it is pretty much certain to happen. All that is missing is a ESE (Education Services Executive) to be formed as a massive bureacracy to oversee the PR stunts.

    In the HSE there was never an admission that the entire path being followed with respect to the combination of cost saving, and measurement was creating massive accountability gaps. Never was it admitted that the leadership at state level was abysmal and inadequate. Never was it admitted that the entire system was overly complex, and designed with the completely irrelevant objectives. Never was admitted that each new “initiative” made matters worse more often than it made things better.

    Therefore I recommend to each of you to save up, because at some point there will be such demand for grinds schools at levels that you never seen before, that you would never beleive it. People will be in the same situation that they are currently in where they help elderly relatives with their VHI bills in order to avert the worst excesses of the Irish concept of institutional mismangement. And I suppose we are lucky that our elderly generation have been conservative to the point that they are able to provide for their own VHI bills. The thirty something generation have been saturated with the manufacturing of consent to the point that they do not feel emotionally the same need to provide for their future – after all they have their smartphones, and the lifestyle, therefore everything should be perfect.

    Disaster up ahead. And we still have spoofers in charge in this country.

  27. Deco

    Concerning the labour versus capital argument, I think this is oversimplifying matters a bit.

    We also have another input factor – management.

    Ah yes….how good are we at management in this country ? Well, let’s see. FAS, CIE, the HSE, etc…

    Or maybe the private sector can do better. Alright let’s look at the anchor tenants of IBEC. AIB – oh, yes – hopping out of one debacle into another. Or maybe BoI. Ah yes, another collection of spoofers. What about Permo – oh…hold on, yet another collection of spoofers.

    There is something desperately wrong with the Irish concept of management. And nobody is mentioning this gigantic elephant in the room.

    • rebean

      You are correct in this. They are a bunch of spoofers.
      The best education I ever got was the three years I spent in the US. You worked or you died that was it. I had no green card and I got work by walking the streets.
      Everywhere I look in Ireland I see waste and people in cosy jobs they got because they knew someone. There is no real ability to manage anything anywhere or no accountability with tax payers money. The banks were badly managed. Lets be honest and say that all banks in the country were bankrupt.Can you imagine it? It beggars belief that every bank in the country was effectively bankrupt. You couldnt make this s**t up.No wonder we afe f***k*d as a country.

  28. AndrewGMooney

    I did a word search on this article and comments.

    Vocation: not found
    Career: not found
    Job: lots of hits

    David begins this article by invoking ‘vocation’, then critiques ‘career’ and ends by positing a future of ‘jobs’.

    Teaching is, it appears, about to experience downward mobility, the middle-class securities of ‘vocation/career’ to be superceded by the working class idiom of ‘jobs’. But, of course, some jobs are more equal than others. A stratification is emerging within the teaching ‘profession’ as it morphs into a jobs feedlot. New entrants to the profession/career/job/trade will not be joining a career path or finding a secure job niche: they will be joining the Precariat:


    ‘Delegates vote for legal challenge to starting pay’

    This is divide and rule not just between public and private sector, but also within the hierarchies of vocation/career/job/hours.

    I’m not sure what the answers may be, or if there are any given the Troika and the Euro. Once can imagine the Troika sacking all the teachers then ‘inviting’ them to volunteer to keep up their ‘professional skills’.

    Is this what Colony Collapse Disorder looks like, as per ‘The Fable of the Bees’? Substitute ‘armanents’ with ‘education’?

    ‘Keynes describes the poem as setting forth “the appalling plight of a prosperous community in which all the citizens suddenly take it into their heads to abandon luxurious living, and the State to cut down armanents, in the interests of Saving”.’


    ‘Delegates vote for legal challenge to starting pay’


    • StephenKenny

      This is the argument behind those stocking up on tinned food and building hill forts in Montana.

      As I’m sure you are well aware, those 20 years of ‘luxurious living and armaments’ were funded not through Keynesian surpluses, but through very non-Keynesian debt accumulation.

      The only hope we have is a process for more debt accumulation, and it’s starting to look like the US & UK have found one: JP Morgan are trialling what are really OTC securitised sub-junk commercial bonds – effectively, CBOs. The SME sector is the only remaining identifiable economic sector that isn’t up to it’s nose in debt. No doubt we shall shortly see a lot of Aston Martins in business parks.

      • AndrewGMooney


        The ‘boomiest boom that Bertie ballooned was bogus.’

        Dork of Corks’ summary:

        ‘The increased wages during the boom were a bank credit event rather then a organic fiat process with even goverment wages a product of taxed credit money.’

        There was no genuine Keynesian surplus to put away for a rainy day once the switch flipped from manufacture-export to domestic ponzi cartel around 2001. Lack of Keynsian prudence, hence stimulus proposals to use the NPRF.

        JP Morgan! Jamie Dimon remains a shameless shill for light-touch regulation of financial weapons of mass destruction:

        ‘”If it weren’t for the capital investment, innovation and productivity of American business, we all still would be living in tents and hunting buffalo,” ‘


        I wonder how long Max Keiser can cope with JP Morgan before he spontaneously combusts?


      • I think it’s sad that someone would want to flee to Montana and lock themselves up in a cabin with a 3 month supply of food

        I’d rather be in Sligo Town socialising with friends and living

        • AndrewGMooney

          Sligo is an excellent place to ‘survive in situ’.

          Enjoy your current reality. It’s going to change radically.

          When it does, you will still enjoy socialising with friends and living. It will just be a different life.

  29. pauline

    Simple as this … we’re fighting over a foreign pie while we should be planting for the future. Of course the government is loving this because it ignores the fact they don’t have a plan for the future… but while people continue to be selfish rather than demanding and expecting fair and reasonable cuts across the board, we’ll continue down the swannie.. and by fair and reasonable.. start properly at the top where people can afford it.

    • Deco

      Actually, we are not even fighting over the foreign pie – we are throwing it away.

      Current state spending is throwing applies into the orchard of the rich. Socialism with big capitalist characteristics is a disaster. We cannot afford to bailout the rich.

      At the end of this the working people will be scammed again. Same as in the boom, by means of inflation of the cost of living.

  30. paddythepig

    David, I salute you for this article, it’s long overdue. I hope you keep banging this drum.

    It’s interesting but not surprising to see the usual suspects rise up out of the ashes to defend their self-interest ; as impervious to logic as ever.

  31. C21living


    Their support for DMcW has only ever been because they thought he defended their interest.

    They’re then ‘disappointed’ or whatever when he doesn’t defend their interest.

    They are selfish people. DMcW is only useful to them when his arguments defend their selfish interest.

    They think it’s the ‘banks versus the people’, when the reality is much more richly textured and complicated than that.

  32. Paris75013

    Teachers need to be given a 40% salary cut IMMEDIATELY.

    Their teacher and teaching effectiveness needs to be examined closely.

    Check out some online teaching on the web. As C21living said, maybe replace a lot of Irish teachers by Filipino teachers (would definitely increase ROI).

    Stop protecting teachers (Croke park agreement) and protect the pupils/students and put their interests/needs first.

    And since this article is about teachers pay, let’s look at some figures. My 8-year old son’s teacher (dear Madame Rousseau) here in Paris is on about €1600 net/month after 35 years of teaching (and her teaching day starts at 8.15 am and ends at 5.30 pm)! A vice principal I know in Ireland is on double that! And believe me it costs a lot more to live in Paris than it does anywhere in Ireland.

    • coldblow

      You know Mme. Rousseau too? She is such a dear friend! And a good friend aussi of les chats de Paris. Et qu’est ce que c’est la bonne éducation? Mais, la France, bien sur, c’est entendu! Pas comme les pauvres lá! En outre, ce sont des fous! Et ils font pas l’élision. P’tits cons!

      But why stop at 40%? Why not:


      Yes, that’s:


      And take ALL their computers away. Enlevez tous les pee ceees. Tous!

      That’ll learn them!

      (only buzzin’ off ya, miss!)

    • peterlydon

      At least compare like with like!
      Does Madame Rousseau pay for private health insurance or does her kids queue for 6 months to get seen like here?
      What about fuel costs? And food costs? What about VAT levels in France?
      Does she NEED to run a car like we NEED or is the Metro sufficient?
      I think you meant 40.01256%. It’s important to be accurate.

  33. David,

    Nicely done. Was wondering when you would get to this.


    Bank branch managers are still clearing 140k ! Most of them are bank employees since they were 16 !!

  35. Johno

    Bottom line is the vast majority of us are over paid. That’s private and public. The reason we are over paid is due to the rising house prices from the late 90′s. This fuelled with cheap credit peopled borrowed more and need more wages to buy house’s and the car’s. I’m not going to pass judgement on anyone who has a big mortgage , car loan credit cards credit union loans and whatever else they may have. The took out these loans when the times where good as people thought this was going to last forever. And the reason they thought this was going to last forever was the government at the time and the media.

    Wages have to be in line with cost of living. People wages cant drop by 20% and still meet their loan obligations and still spend to keep the economy growing. Something has to give. And I think we can all see the economy has given way and only a matter of time before the loans go and we have a mass default.

    I am very much aware this is an extremely simplistic view of things but I’m fairly new to the world of economics and I have read and learned so much from this site in the last 18months. Been a real eye opener.

    • C21living


      You tell ‘em Johno.

      The big problem is that so many of these posters are in massive debt.

      They just can’t bear the idea of salary decreases, but that’s what’ll make us competitive again.

      They want to resist our return to competitivenes, to save their own indebted asses.


    This is just the most depressing series of comments I’ve ever read on this site. DMcW’s article had some good points, but none that we don’t already know and it ignored some obvious ones too. Most of it’s bad points, which were pointed out on the thread, pale into insignificance compared to the narrow-minded bickering that comprised much of the input from subscribers, many of them apparently new to this site. Many of the people commenting here need to get their heads out of their asses, take a look at the big picture and stop blaming other workers for the managements’ errors. It’s like that Maupasant story where all the stray dogs are thrown down the mineshaft, where they devour each other, in order to survive for another day. I mean “overthrow the teachers!” yeah, that’ll sort it all out. FFS!

    • C21living

      So we’ll just keep paying the teachers more than the EZ average indefinitely, even though the state is bankrupt?

      Obviously bankers pay is outrageous, but so is our public sector salary bill.

      This is what DMcW is saying above.

      Read it again and see if I’m wrong.

      • redriversix

        I Hope it always stays fine for you,C21 Living,I would like to tell you that you do not have to be a asshole everyday,but that would go against my new found compassion,humility and understanding………….


  37. gizzy

    We always seem to miss the underlying points. We discuss teachers when as in the whole public service the processes and practices are a mess. The educational crriculum is way outdated. We teach the wrong things the wrong way. We are teaching boys as if they are male girls. We have no male role models in our primary schools. Our system is arts based not maths based. We have no physical education at most primary schools. We do not teach modern languages in most primary schools and please do not turn this into a Gaelgeoir debate. At secondary the teaching is exam based with a useless junior cert, waste of time transition year and leaving cert that rewards those who are best able to learn by rote and have access to grinds and is no way connected to third level education,

    This all has to change and the teachers unions should be in the vanguard. Change the sysstem then look at the people.

    As an ex banker I do agree with the sentiment that any amount can be found for Bondholders and Banks but not for education or health. Wrong , wrong wrong.

  38. Black Cat

    Are any of the smart heads on here today? I hope its not rude but I need some financial advice! Where should I put my E25 grand Sterling, I have a Rabbo account but they only hold euros, Aib do sterling accounts or should I travel to the UK and open a sterling account there. I don’t want to hold euros, its obvious that the thing is going to collapse and I have a baby now so am a bit worried!

  39. molly66

    David why don’t you do a story on where we will be in 3/5 years if we keep going on this mad road we are being force to take .
    If petrol/ diesel keep going up as I can see most things are linked into this ,and for the ones of us who don’t have a state paying job or a pension that has benign destroyed we will be the new poor because what we take home in money terms will stay the same.
    So if I take home say 400 euros a week in 2013 and still take home 400 in 2016 and everything else has gone up as it will ,will this shower who run things be voted back in.
    Remember we who are being forced not asked being forced to take the unfair share of the pain are in the majority so why should we the majority sit back and take this crap.
    Why should we go out and work for peanuts to pay for the croke park to keep tds and all the civil servants in good paying jobs and fat cat pensions and lump sums ,so they can retire early while we retire at 65/66/67/68/69 do we look like gob shites.

  40. Original-Ed

    Taking money off teachers isn’t going to solve our problems, in fact it may add to them through reduced spending by such a sizable community. The problem with Croke Park is that it is divisive, in that it guarantees a further layer of protection to an already well protected group in a time of national crisis. It’s viewed by the ordinary citizen as the equivalent of draft dodging in past wars. Money is not the important issue here, it’s the principle that counts. The damage is done and even a late gesture of solidarity with the plight of the ordinary citizen will never heal that wound. It gives us some idea of what the divide must have felt like during the civil war.

  41. Black Cat

    Molly good point, that’s an article I’d like to read – its only a couple of generations since the rural irish barely went to the shop for anything. Those public servants you mentioned in this country are like the aristocracy, I agree, who says we don’t have a class system.

  42. rebean

    We cannot tell the bondholders to f*** off until we stop borrowing money from the ECB. Its like the ruling classes of Europe have a gun to our head or was that a bomb that was going off somewhere ?? Everyone knows we cannot pay back all the debt but we will be told to pay as much as possible for thye next 50 years. Germany know all about reparations and they will be teaching the Irish people and the Greeks how to knuckle under and do their bidding. Alternatively we can balance the books which will mean serious pay cuts and welfare cuts and then we can tell Europe that we are not paying any more bank debt. I dont think anyone has the bottle for this course of action. There is however a day coming when whether we like it or not the plug will be pulled on the cheap money. Things are going to get scary . Petrol will be 2 euros a litre by next November. I think I will buy another bike . Christ it looke like I am going to be getting fitter with my car off the road ! On yer bike now lads !!!

    • molly66

      The people with the most should pay the most,how the truckers are not out blocking the roads I don’t know every cent fuel goes up the government gets more tax.
      This country just can’t honour it’s pay deals,it’s pensions ,it’s hand outs,it’s waste of our money.
      We need to stop paying bond holders and we need to stop the borrowing of money there’s going to have to be a complete change in every aspect in the running of this. Country.
      The fear has to stop you get screwed for owning a home and you get scrubbed every time you go out side your home.this is no living it’s existing .

      • MjHi

        Molly as a former Haulier Im afraid our industry is finished in Ireland.We will increasingly see foreign based transport companies coming here to do the work cheaper.Our industry is too over regulated & over policed & most of my colleagues are either gone bust or going bust.A truck driving job is longer as well paying as it used to be & because of the fuel prices the only person making money are the poorly paid drivers.

        • molly66

          Yes I agree a few years ago I employed 5 and then the red tape started,and the work started to dry up.I made my workers redundant and am still flogging a dead horse.FF,FG,and labour are about as much use as a snow ball in hell ,the government keep going off on different agendas to deflect from the real problems that they know they can solve,it’s like watching actors in a play trying to make it to the end of school term so they can collect there big fat pensions ,lump sums ect ect ect.
          The dogs on the street new the IMF where here well the same dogs on the same street know if this government keep going on there current path we are fucked.

  43. Tony Brogan

    David says
    “The story of the next few years will be one of wages falling relative to profits throughout the country. This is the natural process of economics in a credit crunch and the teachers are likely to suffer as a result.

    If a fight between profits and wages sounds Marxist, that’s because it is. Sometimes the best place to start in economics is with Marx. It might not be the best place to end up, but Marx is a good starting point.

    According to Marx, there is capital and there is labour and they are in constant battle with each other. The return to labour is wages and the return to capital is profit. As one goes up, the other must go down.”

    David, aside from the pointing of the finger at the teachers who have to learn there is no more money, your basic premise is one of conflict.
    you have successfully set up the community for devision.
    Those who fight amounst themselves are easily defeated by the common enemy.
    Here we have everyone arguing about the merits of the who gets to take what from whom and give to whomever.

    you set us up with the Marxist conflict between capital and labour as you put it. The struggle between those who have and those who have not.
    you suggest that there is a struggle between profits and labour.

    finally there is the statement that all economies should strive for higher wages.(presumably at the expense of lower profits.)

    all these suppositions are outdated, outmoded and destructive.

    There are many business today operating on a different premise all together. For example the John Lewis partnership.

    The company invests savings to create capital that is used as an asset of the business with the objective of providin services and goods that people want and to making a profit. Management recognised that labour is a part of their capital. Workers are hired and trained to be efficient at what they do. Each enployee is treated as a profit centre.

    There is no point in hiring anyone if they are not profitable to the employer. In the John Lewis partnership all employees are given a steak in the profitability of the company.
    All are paid basic wages, all receive year end bonuses as a proportion of company profits. Sometimes these bonuses are substancial enough to comprise up to a half of the annual total remuneration.
    I have family members who were employed in what looked like mundane jobs but at the end of a period did very well.
    The employee is now motivated to achieve the highest profit for the company. in a manner of speaking they are become selfemployed. Each will stop to assist the other in a more efficient way of doing their job.

    Cooperation works. Enough of this divisiveness. In this example both wages and profits rise together, so a pox on your Marxism example.

    in addition there is no discussion on the root cause of the problem in the first place which you studiously ignore.

    Our money system and credit based, debt producing money system is the “”root of all the evil”.
    money was always private property. It was usurped by the state simply to aid taxation not to facilitate trade which has always been intertribal, international in scope. The individual lost sovereignty.
    Now the money system is usurped by the mega state also to control, but now it is the state that loses sovereignty and the individual even more. Next out of this deliberately induced debacle will come the attempt to have a one world currency controlled by a one world government. All sovereignty submerged by an obscure tyrannical despotic dictatorship controlled by the banking money houses of the world.

    What is the solution. how do we stop this.
    Anarchy is not the solution. Devide and conquer is working against us.

    We must reject the fiat paper currency issued as a promissory note against the the faith and credit of tha taxpayer.
    We must revert to a money system that is based on an intrinsic value and that has no counterparty risk. that is it is not an instrument of debt.
    The current system of fractional reserve banking must cease and be banned. It allows commercial banks to created money into existance from nothing and lend to the latest borrower. 95% of all money is issued this way as a credit or debt instrument. If all debt were paid off or redeamed there would be no currency left in circulation

    not only are people indebted by the system but it creates inflation which is a stealth tax upon the savings of the people as well as being directly taxed as “capital gains”

    The proper definition of inflation is the devaluation of the purchasing power of your money. It is in no way beneficial to an individual or community.
    As the money supply is increased the existing money (that you have put in the bank or under the pillow for a rainy day or for a future purchase) buys less than it did. That is things appear to have gone up in price, but they have not. It is the value of your money has decreased.
    Inflation makes it harder to make a profit. Inflation robs the workers of buying power and causes a demand for higher wages, and as David correctly says makes it harder to employ a worker and the business fails.

    We must remove inflation.
    The only way known,except for a credit contraction and depression, is to use a non inflationary form of money. That is a money that is static in amount and not easily added to.
    Mankind has opted for gold and silver in most instances of a successful economy. We must return to a commodity money system.
    If Inflation is removed, A persons money and wages buy what they used to. The natural efficiencies of an ecomomy produce a mild deflation of cheaper prices and so an individuals wages go further and the person is better off. All people grow wealthier in a stable commodity based economy.
    As stated before the first recipients of the current bail outs are the favourites of the central banks. Those are the “bullion” banks, commercial banks and the businesses closely affilated with the banking industry and government. They spend the new money at par but the rest get nothing or little from the “trickle down” effect and their wages received are devalued by the inflation and the worker and middle class are poorer.
    This explains the current ever widening devide between those at the top and those at the bottom. Currently everyone is poorer except the so called one percent at the top.

    A country must regain control of its money supply to reagain sovereignty. A people must insist on a commodity based money that is largely inflation proof.

    if not, there is no answer to the current problems and there will be a financial monetary collapse as David warned the teachers where all will be wiped out except those who have prepared.
    Do not save in paper fiat debt based currency. Save in real money and hard assets. buy siler and gold coin preferably. the smaller units are more easily exchanged for food and goods and services. Pay the premiums if you have to, to get ahold of it. If you have a garden plot or a small acreage so much the better. We are talking survival here. Those that can, get out of debt. Those that can’t get out of debt buy bullion coins anyway you can with cash and stash.
    Protect yourself first, then your family, then help your friends, then see if the community will collective make the required changes.
    On an inflation basis silver is the cheapest it has been for 600 years. Not a miss type. Gold on an inflastion basis is very cheap by any standard. Expect in my opinion 5 figure gold prices and 4 figure silver before this is over.

    In the meantime do not fight and squabble amoung yourselves, discuss with and educate each other. Explain the thought processes and evaluate. Help each other.

    kind thoughts to all.

    • rebean

      Yes Lets have cohesion in society. To be honest I just dont see the fairness of hospital consultants on 200K a year and pretty much everyone else on less than 50K. Yes there are the ESB lads on the gravy train 80K a year,etc,etc. I find it hard to resolve the disparity between pay and conditions. If an electrician can earn 80K in the ESB and is on the dole, if he is not in the ESB then thats a protected job at tax payers expense. If a consultant in Ireland is on 200K and he would earn half that in Holland then I would say thats unfair especially in a bankrupt country where we pay interest on the money to overpay these people. So I would conclude that Ireland is full of protected workers in the sense that the rest of us have to find a heap of cash via tax to pay them. If a consultant wants to make a million a year on his own time privately then fine but not using the public facilities paid by the taxpayer.If the ESB want to pay their staff 80K a year then privatise them and get some real competition into the marketplace and give us the choice. If the teachers are costing half a billion in allowances for their qualifications over and above their salary then I would say thats too much in a bankrupt country.There is a difference between private and public and the reason is that the private funds the public sector full stop. The ESB dont pay my wages I pay their wages with my inflated electricity bill.
      We need to see the wood from the trees in Ireland. Our leaders do not have the bottle for it. Their all the same when it comes down to the wire. The well paid public sector hide behind the lower paid. There is no comparison between a lecturer in Trinity on 120K and a cook in a hospital on 25k. The public sector unions are all smoke and mirrors.

  44. Black Cat

    christ that’s interesting, I don’t know if I should set spuds of flee the country! How much do you need to buy gold I wonder?

      • StephenKenny

        and then of course there’s:


        Government’s can do as they wish; they merely pass a law, and enforce.

        • Tony Brogan

          Well of course.

          December 31, 2011 update:

          On this day, President Obama signed S-1867, the National Defense Authorization Act into law

          Anyone in the world can be apprehended or assassinated at the presidents pleasure. Then of course there is nothing further to debate or worry about.


          Ireland has not gone this far yet!!

        • Tony Brogan

          Then there is Greece


          Perhaps coming to a neighbourhood near you?

          • StephenKenny

            Well, perhaps.

            If things got bad enough for gold and silver to take on the values that you’re suggesting, many things would be very different. One of which would be that governments would have completely lost control of their economies. Tax revenues would have collapsed, the buying power of people’s pay – including teachers – would have similarly collapsed. Interest rates would have gone through the roof, and mortgage defaults would have followed.

            A lot of people would be in a very bad state. Very bad. And then there’s this, quite literally, pot of gold, just waiting to be taxed, or forcibly borrowed – just as governments force pension funds to buy government debt.

            Gold at these valuations is unchartered water – and there tend to be other things in such waters. There be dragons….

        • Tony Brogan

          Hello stephen
          you are right to be cautious and sceptical.
          I tend to agree with you that the world may not be in very good shape and not a nice place to live in.

          However I well remember 9 or ten years ago when some called for 1650 gold in US dollars and the ridicule they received. Last august it hit that target went higher and then retraced. it is now preparing another advance.
          In 1933 the amount of gold held in the US in Private hands at $20/ounce was so I remember closer to 5% of the GDP. Today at 1650 it is not even 1% so it is not even worth the effort to collct and they would go after the funds and large depositors. Even today the funds are mostly paper promises.

          Othe countries from other than the west are accumulating. All the middle east, and arab lands. Iran and Turkey.Russia is quickly saving and the largest is China, not to forget India, Vietnam and others.

          There is no doubt thet the next resrve currency or basket of currencies will be backed by a proportion of gold. central banks are net buyers now and not net sellers.

          China is the largest miner of gold bullion, and one of the largest importers of gold as well. No mined gold leaved China as it is all bought by the state.

          Chinese citizens are now allowed to own gold and save a large portion of their incomes in gold. China also is investing in gold mines in Africa and lately in a
          Australia. none of that gold mined will see the light of day as it seems the chinese state is shipping it home.

          in the meantime the US has been the depositry for other nations gold as well as their own. There is strong circumstantial evidence that a lot of it is leased into the market and sold and that the gold of other sovereign nations no longer exists.Rather than 32,000 tonnes held by central banks there is likely less than 15,000

          This is no matter if gold is not money. but gold is quickly becomming recognized as money again as it has always been.

          In addition there have been statements that the London gold pool has very little gold and trades 100 ounces in paper promises for every ounce available for delivery.

          Not much has to change here for the price to double overnight with little else changing around the world.

          The statements that governments will have lost control of their economies I view as a positive. governments should not control the economies at all. That is one of the problems. Too much government interference. Provide a framework maybe, infrastructure perhaps but otherwise but out.

          I favour closing the central banking system and any issues re finance be handled directly by treasury.

          There is risk in all things and I view the greater risk in not owning gold and silver rather than owning it.

          If the world goes on a gold backed fractional reserve currency I suspect the gold value will be closer to 10,000 than 5,000 and that silver will be a 10th of that. Interestingly there is less silver above ground than there is gold. mining supply is far less than demand and there are 500 plus industrial uses for silver as well as its monetary function. I have seen prople saying it could go higher than gold as the uses are in such small quantities that it is price inelstic.

          Thank you for your thoughts and civility


    • Glad to see someone has got their mind on the job at hand

      Lets take it out on the teachers. Cheap as chips and scraping the bottom of the barrel. T’will be a blueshirt heaven before you can say ‘Please Stand for General Franco Ladies and Gentlemen’

    • Harper66

      Thanks for the post Georg.

  45. rebean

    Yes The massive energy prices. Now theres an interesting thought. We have a labour minister for energy and prices have increased . What has Pat rabitte actually done for the taxpayer? He is shivering in his boots when it comes to the task of taking on the ESB unions. He likes to pontificate though about things on planet Pat. I saw him on the frontline telling some guy to tog out and get into politics if he wanted to enforce change. So if you dont like his half assed lame ability to actually change anything you should get into politics. God help us all.

  46. Adam Byrne


  47. Colin

    Thanks for a great article David, I have repeatedly asked you to come off the fence regarding the Croke Park ATM… sorry I mean the Croke Park Agreement, and you have finally delivered, and delivered as I expected you to do, as it is rational, informed and unemotional analysis. But it’s not just teachers, it’s guards, nurses, firemen oops sorry it’s firefighters these days thanks to our politically correct friends assertions, et al that need to be sat down, have their hand held, and told that the money just isn’t there in a bankrupt country to continue paying them handsomely for work which while essential, is not highly skilled, and tolerates too many slackers and clock watchers and the too-frequently-ill and the inept, the mediocre and the rest of them.

    • Slabbering at the mouth again Colin.
      You are a very spiteful man.
      Gies a kiss x

      • LOL….in deed!

        Nurses, firemen, …. not highly skilled… ROFLMAO!

        What a brain fuck!

        • Colin

          Now now Mr Baumann, you’ll find they are skilled, but not highly skilled. They should not earn as much or anywhere near as much engineers and IT professionals earn.

          Tell us Gerorg R, what sustains you’re lifestyle, since you’ve all day to post your crap here. Did you inherit a lot of dosh from your family, enough to retire on? or are you sponging off someone? you clever little brain fuck!

          • You know, this is the last thing I em going to say to you Colin, you are a coward and a disgusting piece of shit. you would not dare to say such things face to face ever, and well, should be truly be so insane and consumed by your illness, which is defined as passive aggressive personality disorder, I would not hesitate a single second to beat the living crap out of your sorry ass, and ditch you on the streets.

            You are a sick fuck man, got get some help.

          • There you go again Colin.
            Why so much bitterness?
            And you wonder why people wind you up.
            I’ve read some of your posts and you are better than this.

          • Colin

            Georg, don’t worry, I don’t take your violent threats seriously. Anyway, I can look after myself, thanks very much. You promised not to reply to my posts before, so why can’t you keep the promise?

            Pauldiv, stay if you want, it was just a suggestion I made, we don’t see eye to eye on most things, that’s life.

        • redriversix

          Amen Brother Baumann,Amen……………..

      • Colin

        Wrong again Pauldiv. Do us all a favour and take a sabbatical from the site. And get onto the Samaritans, they can help out the lonely and unloved.

        • Johno

          Got to strongly disagree about Nurse’s, my wife is a nurse and she is not over paid. For what my wife tells me what she has to put up with she is very much underpaid. Its a highly skilled job as well. There is alot of waste in the HSE and that needs to be tackled but the nurse’s on the ward are generally ( yes you will find lazy ones as in all jobs ) hard working and under appreciated. If you have the unfortunte time of having a loved one is hospital ( My 11 month baby girl had was in for 6 nights last week ) you will be damn lucky to have to skills and the compassion of a nurse there.

          Yes I have a very biased view on it due to my wife and I may not have that view if I was told what my wife has had to do after a long day in work.

          • Colin

            I thought I made it clear above, Nursing is a skilled job, its just not a highly skilled job, say like being a surgeon.

            I know nurses who were coining it with overtime, their colleagues would ring in sick, so they’d be asked to cover, do 5 12 hour shifts a week, 2 of them at a much higher rate, and then complain about how much the taxman was taking. I know this!

          • Johno

            Sorry Colin I have to replay up here wont let me reply to your post!

            If someone does a 60 hour a week , 22 1/2 which would be overtime , of course they would be coining it! But they also have worked very hard to get that. Im on 23k a year so my tax would be fairly low and I still complain about the bloody taxman :) Think that is part of life!

          • Colin

            Yes Johno, hard earned money it is. However, the shifts that were covered are paid over two and a half times by the HSE, one as sick pay to the nurse who had a ‘no show’ or was ‘sick’, and secondly, at a higher rate to the nurse who worked the shift as overtime. Can you not see that this is madness? No private sector business could carry on like that and expect to keep going.

        • You mean do YOU a favour Colin.
          No. I am staying just to piss you off.

          • redriversix

            Colin,their is no doubt that you are a monumental clown,I have forgotten more then you will ever learn,you child………..!

          • RR6 you are not listening lol.

            Colin has already ‘made it clear’. It’s game set and goodnight don’t you get it?

            Be humble and appreciate that Colin at least took the time to speak to us.

          • Colin


            Sorry to burst your bubble here, but your opinions on everything are full of horse manure. Save your keyboard strokes for someone else.


            I really hope you do find someone who’ll accept your kisses. Everyone is free to read what I type, even you, now, do you feel special wee jocky?

          • @Colin

            I feel lucky Colin because I still have my Glasgow sense of humour and it is in times like this that I need it

            Never lose that old Colin sense of humour. It keeps us all going

            Ps. Wee Jocky passed away recently and he got raving obituaries in the Scottish press.

    • FAiken

      @Colin, good point although not nicely said. You also have to add in the IDA, EI, and all the other quangos. Skilled, but not highly skilled. Job for life or port in a storm. Ireland has too big a public sector and it’s overpaid, period! Now the the Germans are running the country, it will end. Slowly, but surely. Public sector, prepare.

      Ireland is like the kid of a successful person. Got some money from dad to do a start up, and then blew it all on cool office space and employees. Went bust. Now he’s going back to daddy with his tail between his legs and asking for more money. Daddy’s saying “okay, but I’ll need to have a say in your decisions going forward until you prove that you can be responsible.”

  48. “Did you ever have a teacher who was compassionate to his or her students?”

    No David because teachers are not in the business of being compassionate. What makes you imagine that they would be compassionate?

    Way I remember it is that there was never any spare love going in school and the church was just the same. It was not designed for understanding, human bonding and compassion

    I had some teachers who were very very good and made a lasting impression. I went to an ordinary secondary school and am glad I did. I now know whole families who work as teachers and it makes me question their motives especially when I see how thick, ordinary and ignorant some of them are. If they were intellectual giants then they would not be working as teachers would they now?

    I think many people go into teaching because it is seen as a pretigious occupation. Nothing more and nothing less. False snobbery – the ego often overrides rational thought. Truth be told I would not thank you for such a miserable occupation where people are constantly moaning and complaining. Blame is for children

    Maybe they need more austerity to bring them to their senses and it sounds like a lot of your posters want to see teachers hung, drawn and quartered. I don’t blame them but lets go after the tax dodgers, criminal bankers and sleazy politicians as well with the same enthusiasm that the government pursues the weaker and unprotected sections of society

    We are only just seeing the beginning of how ugly this dear island is going to get in the coming years. If you think it’s bad now then you all need to waken up fast Irish Brothers (and sisters)

    “Many people, unfortunately, reacted to this increase in wages by taking on more and more debts and therefore their wage increases and employment opportunities were matched with more debt” :

    Stupidity. They all exercised free will and were thinking adults. In typical Irish political lexicon ‘there are lessons to be learnt’. Maybe they should fill their minds with good stuff rather than drooling over the property porn churned out by the idiotic mainstream media each weekend. Maybe now they are paying more attention to the ‘Pornographers of Doom’. I hope so

    “This will also mean, as profits rise, that more and more people will try to set up businesses because you will make much more by taking risks now relative to looking for an employed position” :

    Bollocks. I know many posters on here who dreamed of starting a business and decided it was not worth the hassle. Many of these people have not been back to the forum. Hint hint. You are dreaming if you think it’s easy for someone on the dole to start a business out of thin air. You are simply not thinking straight man. A lot of your posters are unemployed while some of them are completely selfish individuals looking after number 1. You are in a tricky position I’d say and have a call to make

    “Croke Park Agreement, the writing is on the wall.” Too right it is. Just make sure we pursue amoral hospital consultants with the same vigour as the hourly paid guy who washes the hospital floors

    “What do you do?”

    Tell him that is he is not cut out to teach then there is the bloody door. Teaching takes talent and not many people have the levels of empathy for it. Selfishness and ego at work again.

    If a teacher can convince kids from disadvantaged backgrounds to make an effort in life and makes a good impressioon then that is priceless. How do you put a price on such teachers?. We all know teachers who were good people

    Or is life all about nickels and dimes and bloody balance sheets?

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