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March 22, 2011



With respect, I think your analysis entirely missed the point. Stephen's quote compares Irish public and Irish private sector wages, while you focussed your post on putting Irish public sector wages in a European context.

While the Irish public sector may be on par with its European peers, that says nothing about the gap between public sector and private sector wages.

I'm not trying to bash the public sector or advocating they take any more cuts, I just think analysis should be done to evaluate whether or not the touted public-private gap is truly as large as they say it is.


Patrick, comparison of average wages in two such diverse sectors tells us pretty much nothing. Private sector wages include everyone working McDonald's or on assembly lines, the public sector wage figure includes doctors, judges and TDs. The two averages don't give any inkling of the mix of job types in each sector, so we don't have any way of telling if the comparison is meaningful.

Stephen Collins is using his comparison to further his political agenda, so I think what Michael is trying to do is to counter this by instead comparing things that are actually comparable and seeing what we find.

I'm not saying he couldn't have made the connection clearer, mind :)


Michael well done in refuting the attacks on the Civil/Public service from the usual sources.Unfortunately the Public believe all this hype.As a public servant (nurse) taken a 7.5 paycut,plus the Pension levy,plus 5% cuts on allowances,25% cut on travel using MY own car for patient visits,oh and the USC how could I forget. And now the infamous Croke Pk deal, you know just privatise the whole lot, see the Public pay for everything,ambulance,police,health etc and lets see the outcome.

Michael Taft

Patrick, Cormac - I did make a mistake in using a quote from the article referring to the gap betwee public and private sector pay. The quote I meant to use was the one referring to the gap between Irish and British public sector pay. So I accept that I caused the confusion. As to the gap between Irish public and private sector pay - I fully agree and will do up my next post on this theme.

I hope that clears up some of the confusion that I caused.

Ernie Ball


Would you not first just edit this post and replace the blockquoted section with this one from the Stephen Collins article?:

Average earnings in the British public service were €634 a week on the last available set of figures by contrast to €912 in Ireland.

Otherwise it looks like the whole article has gone off half-cocked.

Michael Taft

Ernie - I have done that. Thanks for the suggestion. Hopefully it reads as it was intended to.



I came across these slides from a recent conference in TCD, which may be of interest. Again the point made is that there are specific poverty traps, in particular Single Parent Households.


"Of course, as we all know, when comparing between countries ... it is helpful to use power purchasing parities (PPP)."

Unfortunately while PPP makes the wage premium look smaller, it won't reduce the debt we owe to the Germans and the British.

The fact that its more expensive to live in Ireland than Germany won't make Angela Merkel inclined to accept 80 cents on the euro, especially when we are borrowing that cash partly to pay our doctors three times they'd earn in Germany and our professors twice what they'd make in the UK.

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