Former President of YFG Eric Keane calls on the Government to renotiate the Croke Park Agreement

"Ladies and Gentlemen, cast yourselves back to 1962. The venue is Rice University, Texas. A humble Wexford man by the name of John Fitzgerald KennedyEric_Keane1 made a solemn vow that his nation would take it upon itself to achieving the goal before that decade was out of placing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. Less than 7 years later, Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin walked on the moon, with Astronaut Michael Collins, the namesake of our founding father, orbiting in the command module. This extraordinary achievement was only possible due to enormous force of will of the American politics and public service.

Fifty years on it is a glaring indictment of our public service and political system that we don't have the political will to do something as simple as connecting the computer machine in the Department of Social Protection and the Revenue Commissioners.

This culture of throwing our hands up and declaring defeat at the first obstacle surmises quiet aptly the malaise that is the public service in Ireland. I do not mean to suggest that there are not many brilliant and talented and innovative people in our public service because there are many. However, in an organisation where those qualities go unappreciated and unrewarded, widespread mediocrity is the result.

The Croke Park Agreement stands utterly opposed to the real and radical change needed in the public service. Let us not mince words, in our public service, the good should be rewarded, the great should be promoted and the bad should receive their P45, lump sums unattached.

The low paid should be protected. The high paid should only be high paid if they deserve it. And at all levels systems should be in place to ensure the taxpayers of this country, and we are all taxpayers of some variety, are getting value for money.

To be a public servant is an honour and a privilege, not as it is now – a dirty word. The first step towards building the public service Ireland needs and deserves is to take that agreement and throw it in the bin where it belongs!"

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