Wednesday, December 9, 2009


I've actually written two fairly long blog posts today, but they were advance postings that I'll put up in a few days, so this will be something of a filler. One of the posts is a review of Fintan O'Toole's book 'Ship of Fools'. I wanted to get it written before I went and saw him talk this evening so I didn't conflate the book and the talk. And what a talk. It's quite a while since I've seen a presentation that was in the best traditions of the public intellectual - wide-ranging, erudite and insightful across the very broad terrain of Ireland over the past twenty years.

Just prior to the talk I got the news that my basic salary is being cut by the government (5% for the first 30,000, 7.5% for the next 40,000, and 10% for anything over that - only for those working in the public sector). That's on top of a cut so far this year of take home pay of 15% (made up of pension levy, income levy, health levy, and an increase in the ceiling of social insurance payments [PRSI]). All in all, I think I'm down about 22% on the start of the year. They've also changed my pension from being based on final salary to my average annual salary over my entire career. I'm well paid, so I'll cope okay. It's the people who are low earners I feel sorry for. They're being squeezed because of the follies of the neoliberal policies designed to bloat the coffers of the already wealthy.

On the positive side, I got a new set of bookcases installed (right). Plenty of space there to fill up! Hopefully that's future proofed me for a while.


Margot Kinberg said...

Rob - I am sorry to hear of your pay cut; several of my friends and acquaintances here in the States are facing the same situation. I agree with you, too, that it's those whose wages are low to begin with who are suffering the most.

Glad you enjoyed O'Toole's talk : ) And..lovely bookshelves - I like them!

ambra bergamasco said...

Thank you for your concern for us 'squashed ones'. I feel obliged to add a couple of thoughts on the 'global cut-mania' by saying that, in some ways it relieves me to think it is not just the hangover of the Celtic Tiger drunkeness that brought everyone to a more sober (penny scraping type) living-style here in the Emerald Isle. Reflecting on my personal cuts... I feel quite 'excited' by the challenge offered to me this year: me and my fellow single-parent families got hit by -100 per month, as a PhD fellow -5500... So altogether I suppose that comes close to a heafty 15% cut, I guess that is where creativity begins... But having said that, I still feel delighted with my self for having bought nearly all the necessary books for my PhD last year, but feel a little tinge of jelousy for your book shelves!