Super High Salaries Attract The Greedy

Noirín O'Sullivans replacement at Garda HQ in rumoured to be getting €300,000 a year.


There is speculation that the successor to Noirin O Sullivan may be offered €300,000 a year as a salary. This, it is claimed, will be needed to attract the ‘best and brightest’.

In reality, it will attract those who are motivated primarily by greed rather than genuine public service.

Noirin O Sullivan received €180,000 a year – which was nearly five times the average wage. Despite this huge amount of money, there is little evidence that she made serious efforts to clear up the rotten culture in the Gardai.

In fact, she was part of the problem.

Paying the next Garda Commissioner an even higher salary will do nothing to change a police culture that shows extraordinary deference to the crimes of the wealthy while focusing most of their efforts on the activities of the poor.

The Irish political elite have long repeated the mantra that huge salaries are needed to attract the best. But they never tell us what ‘best’ means.

Public sector jobs should be about serving the public – rather than mimicking the obscene salary levels of CEOs in the private sector.

A different set of motives and skills sets are required if state agencies are to be re-configured to reduce bureaucracy and help people in need.

Instead of greed for money, we need openness, empathy and a willingness to unleash the creative energies of those who work in state agencies.

Workers such as nurses or teachers should be paid properly and there should be no discrimination against those who started after 2011. But the super-salaries of the top managers should be drastically cut.

The political elite have no interest is this because see politics and state service as an opportunity to be rewarded with as much as they can get.

The results are not impressive.

The salary of the Leo Varadkar, for example, is €190,000 a year but the salary of Prime Minister of Spain is €78,790.
Spain has a population that is ten times the size of Ireland – yet the Irish Taoiseach gets double the salary.

It makes no sense. We need a more modest maximum salary in the public sector.

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