Public Reform

The public sector is gearing up to begin the year with strikes. This is something which is dividing a nation into those who work in the public and private field. It must be said that sympathy is not necessarily with the strikers. People do have a right to strike but I have rights too. Ireland is on Strike

I have the right to drive on the roads in these awful conditions without fear that the council have not gritted them or that there are no workers to do this work because overtime budgets have been slashed. I have the right to expect that if I get unwell the hospitals will take care of me without fear of trolleys, waiting lists and tired doctors and nurses who are working as hard as they can in the circumstances. I hope that if I have children they will live in a country they can be more proud of than I am now. I hope that it is easier for them to access a fair education system, to a transport system that works efficiently and on time. I hope that they will see politicians who are good role models that they can relate to, politicians that are in touch with reality and who have the interests of the country at heart rather than their own.

All of these rights and more are possible. They are possible without strikes. There are good men and women working in the public sector and in the government among the unmotivated, idealess individuals who live by rules that are antiquated to save their own meaningless positions. These good people are ground down by bureaucracy and wasted budgets and need to be motivated to continue and build on good work that is being done. I suggest that in the New Year all those working in the public service at ALL levels take a look at how everything is running. There are ways to save money. Managers need to listen to ideas that people at every level have for they are the ones that are more in tune with the day to day running of whatever service is being provided. A whole culture change is needed to replace the culture of greed and carelessness currently prevailing. The time for blame is over. We are in this situation now but in one sense we should relish the challenge. Our race to the bottom is complete. We have a political system in need of reform with circus acts on show every day and guest appearances by bankers and developers. As a race we almost lost our soul in the celtic tiger but we have a chance now to re-examine our values and to recreate this country. Yeats said that old Ireland is dead and gone, in 2010 we have a chance to make a new one. This is the year of hope, the year we need to reform our public sector and our government so that we can begin to recover a sense of ourselves. Public sector reform will result in savings as well as the provision of better services. These savings mean that pay cuts may not be necessary. If the public sector can “get its house in order” then perhaps in the future, if there really is a need for strike, the public at large will be more sympathetic and less divided. At that stage, they will have the right to strike. We are all in this together, let’s remember that.

Doreen O’ Mahony is an Account Manager with Fuzion Communications

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