In this article, the president of the ICMSA, Pat McCormack, questions the premise and eligibility of the state sector Covid bonus.
Self-employed people and people working in the private sector are looking on with bemusement.
State employees, who sat at home from day one of the pandemic, now loudly proclaim their own sacrifices and jostle for their place in the ever-lengthening queue for the state sector Covid bonus payment.
While no-one doubted the efforts made by front line medical staff and the harm’s way that those people had put themselves in, it was somewhat curious and galling to see other groups of state employees who had worked through Zoom – from their kitchen table – now stridently putting themselves forward for a bonus to be paid out of revenues raised in part through taxation on the private and self-employed sectors, who had either worked away as normal every day of the pandemic or actually lost their jobs altogether.
It was difficult sometimes to convince oneself that Ireland’s workforce was all in this together when one part of the workforce was not alone insulated from any economic fallout from the pandemic but seemed to think it merited a reward for this privilege.
The second only to the frontline medical workers, the most important people in Ireland for those 18-odd months were the people – including but not limited to my farmer members – who had worked in the food supply chain ensuring the availability of superb quality fresh food every hour of every day.
It was both curious and telling that this work was not deemed as risky or important as conducting routine administration by remote computer from your own home.
Not the least problem Ireland faced in dealing with the historic challenge presented by climate change was the depressing complacency around food security and supply.
Farmers had long suspected a growing level of misunderstanding and delusion around the question, but the antics and posturing around the so-called Covid Bonus justified that anxiety.
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