A “Strain On Patriotism”

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The post of chief of the Finance Department left vacant by Kevin Cardiff’s appointment to the European Court of Auditors prompted the following editorial this morning.

You may want to sit down.

The finance department once attracted the best brains in the civil service, often the best brains in the country. To some extent it still does.
But in recent decades and especially during the Celtic Tiger era, its deficiencies multiplied. When the crash came, it was exposed to the same glaring light that fell on other institutions.
Now it needs a chief who will shake it up from top to bottom…there is a strong argument in favour of choosing an outsider…But how much should the outsider be paid?
…The cap on Public spending remuneration is €200,000 a year. Most likely a suitable candidate and his/her partner earn more than double that. Very Likely too, they have a house to sell, another house to buy, substantial possessions to be transported, children to be placed in fee-paying schools. Here is a strain on patriotism if ever there was one.
In principle, and as a statement of intent, the cap is justified and reasonable.
But there is an exception to every rule and there should be an exception to this one.
We should not allow a return to old-style thinking which places the preservation of an insider network above the real public interest.

Irish Independent editorial (not available online)

Well, we’re convinced.

(Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland)