The government has gone into an agonising series of negotiations with the unions and representatives of business, frantically trying to cut back 2 billion euros from public expenditure this year.
It’s a desperate situation, and all bets are off. All contracts are out the window. Everyone has to give something back. Everyone has to take some pain, we’re told.
Everyone, that is, except the bankers whose criminal greed got us into this mess. They’ll be all right because the government will reach into your pension fund and give them your money to bail them out. And then the government will increase your taxes to give the bankers some more money. And then they’ll cut the services you get — services that were already inadequate compared to most European countries.
I have a couple of suggestions that might save them a lot of trouble.
You remember that deal with the Catholic church? The government paid 1.2 billion to people abused by religious orders, and the church paid one tenth of that figure.
Take it back from the church. Take back the whole lot from the people who did the abusing, and there you have 1.2 billion straight away. If they complain, tell them we live in a changed world and the country is in trouble. Remind them of their duty.
Then, when we’ve taken back that money, let’s go and talk to Shell Oil. Let’s tell them the gas in the Corrib field belongs to us, the Irish people, and if they want it they’ll have to pay for it, instead of taking it free, as agreed by the crooked minister of the day, Ray Burke. If they complain, tell them we live in a changed world and the country is in trouble. Remind them of their duty.
What’ll we call that? Let’s say 14 billion.
Excellent. There’s fifteen billion saved without having to sack a single street-sweeper, nurse or fireman.