Public Service Costs - The Elephant in the Room


Private sector workers reading this thread be like “Pensions? what is that?”


This thread has become tedious.

It is not the case that PS workers are always and everywhere overpaid.

Some are, some aren’t. It depends on the sector and grade. In very broad terms:

Underpaid: NCHDs, senior civil servants, defence forces NCOs
Overpaid: senior teachers, all Gardaí, most semi-state staff, prison officers

In the long run people should focus on tangible productivity issues rather than raw pay. Work practices are efficent in many places and diabolical in many others and if you could cure the second part the wages would not be the issue.

To some extent a return to sectoral-level bargaining (not seen since the 1980s) allows for coupling specific productivity issues with pay rises. This is something that you can’t really do when the whole public sector gets the same % as part of big pay rounds.


What do you mean by productivity? In public sector industrial relations it seems to relate to lowering effective hourly rates of pay rather than “producing” more or better outcomes.

e.g. Haddington Road hours criticised by teachers for being a total waste of time. Maybe there would be better outcomes if they spent the time doing lesson prep, but that’s not going to be agreed because lesson prep is (AFAIK) already done outside of normal working hours so isn’t tracked or recognised.

In a private sector workplace, lesson prep would be closely managed so that extra productivity could be proven, but the private sector isn’t necessarily more efficient - school level teaching is a profession that is incredibly efficient from a management perspective (or at least used to be) - there’s very little micromanagement or dedicated administrative staff. So there aren’t the mechanisms to implement productivity gains, and I don’t think that approach is even valuable. I’d rather effort was spent on improving quality by sharing best practice (although when that would happen? school holidays?) and weeding out crap teachers.


Say what? Hours would be managed and logged, the prep would take place at the school only. Teachers would work 9-5, 46 weeks of the year. Their breaks would be monitored and they’d be expected to be working during free periods. Schools would be open all year round…

edit: the point is private sector management is management by attendance.


The only approach that’s ever worked with regard to the Irish public sector was large pay awards rapidly followed by a currency devaluation. This wasn’t the approach taken by the more economically mature members of the euro area.

Now it looks like we’ve still got large pay awards but now they’re followed by an economic collapse rather than a devaluation.


Correct. Increments were frozen with FEMPI until 2016. So most public sector workers will have had their pay cut and a pension levy imposed in 2013, so take home pay pretty significantly cut and then frozen for three years. Increments for unions within the Landsdowne Road Agreement started to be reinstated this year. But I don’t know where the idea that there are 12 bands within a salary scale comes from. I’ve been a public servant for 20 years and have worked in four different grades and none of them have had more than 5 annual bands. So, prior to 2013 and assuming satisfactory performance assessments, a civil servant in a particular grade could advance up five salary bands over five years. Then there are two further increments which can potentially be paid after 3 years and another 3 years.

Re paybill and spending, have a look at the Public Service Reform Plan, published by DPER. … ction.html

*Gross voted spending has been reduced from its peak of €63.1 billion in 2009 to €54.6 billion in 2013. This represents a reduction of approximately 13.5%. The Government Expenditure limit for 2014 will be €52.9 billion and the expenditure limits for 2015 and 2016 will be €51.5 billion and €51.9 billion respectively.

From its peak of €17.5 billion in 2009, the Public Service Pay Bill was reduced to €14.1 billion in 2013.*

Anyone have any evidence that these figures are untrue and the imaginary world inhabited by Pinsters where the public service paybill is increasing year on year is in fact the real world?

Note: I think the decision on Garda pay was extremely unwise and I am completely against the re-negotiation of the Landsdowne Road Agreement, even though it would likely benefit me in the short term. Have to say though I am pretty much a lone voice within my Union on this.


The Gardai currently cost us €1.55 billion a year. Their pay deal where rent allowance and the laughable parade allowance have been classified as salary. So their hourly rate will increase which will increase overtime costs and long-term pensions costs.

That €1.55 billion does not represent anything like value for money.

The members of the GRA and the AGSI have been responsible for the casual pervasive incompetence and corruption.

Garda Pay

So how much are Gardai payed? We have seen lots of misinformation from the GRA and the AGSI and no response from the government on the facts.

There are a number of potential sources of this information:

Official Garda payscales and allowance information
Annual reports from the Commissioner - this does not contain pay information
Department of Public Enterprise and Reform (PER)

Data from the CSO’s EHECS Earnings Hours and Employment Costs Survey is available in the series EHQ10: Public Sector Employment and Earnings by Sub Sector, Quarter and Statistic - see … language=0.

One problem of the CSO salary data is that it is based on a survey of 7500 participants - see … stssurvey/

Based on the CSO’s EHECS survey data, the average annual salaries (averaged over the four quarters in each year) of Gardai for 2008-2015 were:

     Year  Average Salary
      2008         €61,910
      2009         €62,726
      2010         €62,057
      2011         €63,665
      2012         €61,684
      2013         €62,767
      2014         €62,552
      2015         €64,021

From 2008, the year Garda Helena Power was assaulted, Garda pay has increased rather than decreased.

The PER data is available from

The Garda salaries from PER for the same years are:

     Year  Average Salary
      2008         €83,714
      2009         €87,648
      2010         €83,916
      2011         €69,431
      2012         €66,738
      2013         €67,960
      2014         €68,208
      2015         €69,203

These are based on total pay costs and total Garda numbers from PER.

These are net rather than gross pay figures. The gross pay figures are between 5% and 7% higher generally.

Based on the CSO EHECS salary survey which appears to under report Garda salaries, Gardai have been consistely paid higher than average public servants. This exclude the impact of the recent pay deal which will just further widen the gap.

Quarter     Garda Salary Difference % Of All Public
2008Q1                                         30.7%
2008Q2                                         36.6%
2008Q3                                         22.2%
2008Q4                                         20.1%
2009Q1                                         30.4%
2009Q2                                         29.2%
2009Q3                                         21.5%
2009Q4                                         23.4%
2010Q1                                         36.7%
2010Q2                                         33.5%
2010Q3                                         23.9%
2010Q4                                         25.4%
2011Q1                                         38.1%
2011Q2                                         50.6%
2011Q3                                         27.5%
2011Q4                                         22.3%
2012Q1                                         32.8%
2012Q2                                         31.9%
2012Q3                                         24.4%
2012Q4                                         24.0%
2013Q1                                         36.0%
2013Q2                                         33.4%
2013Q3                                         30.2%
2013Q4                                         24.7%
2014Q1                                         36.0%
2014Q2                                         34.7%
2014Q3                                         30.8%
2014Q4                                         25.4%
2015Q1                                         36.3%
2015Q2                                         35.8%
2015Q3                                         31.3%
2015Q4                                         32.5%
2016Q1                                         33.8%
2016Q2                                         43.9%

** Garda Corruption**

How many other whistleblowers are out there with stories to tell:

• Dave Taylor

• Maurice McCabe

• John Wilson

• Nick Keogh - … -1.1788763

• Garda whistleblower Keith Harrison - … 23701.html

These events just join a long list of previous scandals:

• Kerry Babies – bunch of banana-finger-fisted detectives swan down from Dublin, beat up a family, extort a confession from them. Job sorted. Only the real baby turns up. So the Gardai come up with the ludicrous explanation of heteropaternal superfecundity to explain the inconsistency between their version of events and the actual truth. The Gardai who concocted the lies even sued for and even more unbelievably won a libel case against Joanne Hayes. The tribunal of inquiry was just a superficial whitwewash. No Garda was ever held accountable or responsible for these lies and corruption.

• Sallins Train Robbery – the Gardai concocted signed statements admitting roles in the train robber from three IRSP members – Nicky Kelly, Osgur Breatnach and Brian McNally. They were convicted and subsequently freed and compensated. No Garda was ever held accountable or responsible for lies and corruption.

• Christopher Ewart Biggs Murder Investigation – the inspector in change of the Fingerprint Section, William Byrne, miraculously found a fingerprint of their desired suspect on a worker’s hat found near the scene several weeks after the hat was first examined. The Sergeant that first examined the hat Michael Diggin could not believe it and re-examined it. He found the fingerprint was his. He reported this. The then Commissioner Garvey demoted him and a colleague Sergeant Corless and supported the self-serving liar William Byrne. No Garda was ever held accountable or responsible for lies and corruption.

• Dundalk Garda Station - Gardaí, colluded with the Provisional IRA and a Gardai in Dundalk Garda station had colluded with the IRA in the murder of two RUC officers as described in the Smithwick tribunal report.

• Sean Doherty Brother-in-Law - Tom Nangle a brother of Doherty’s wife Maura who was aGarda was due to appear in a court for the alleged assault of a Northern Ireland man, the complainant was, purely by coincidence, taken into custody by the RUC on the day of the court case. His arrest followed a query from the Department of Justice to the RUC by way of the Gardai.

• Dean Lyons – a poor fool of a drug addict was framed from the Grangegorman double murders while a serial killer went free just because the Gardai could not be arsed doing their job properly

What is clear from these events is that there is a relatively large minority that abuse their role as Gardai and a larger number of Gardai who accept this abuse and do not report it, act against it and do not co-operate with any investigations to stop it.


The GRA advanced Helena Power as a Garda who was assaulted on duty and who is “still suffering pay cuts” - see … Advert.pdf

You can read details about her assault here: … 94423.html

and about the subsequent trial of her attacker here: … -1.1069700

Yes, she was injured in the line of duty. And yes, she had lodged a claim for compensation as is her right. Go to and search for case 2014 429 SP. Any compensation she receives will be a tax free addition to her salary.

Yes, being a Garda can be difficult and dangerous and we as a society acknowledge this by allowing Gardai retire on full index-linked, defined benefit pensions after 30 years service.

There is also a separate Garda Compensation list in the High Court where claims by Gardai for compensation for injuries received while on duty are processed - see … n?OpenView. As mentioned above Garda Helena Power is availing of this.

Note that the total number of all assaults reported annually (for example, see page 32 of … nglish.pdf) is around 300 of the 624 recorded occupational accidents in 2015, a rate of around 2.3% based on the numbers of serving Gardai.

Maybe the GRA could also have a parallel poster showing the assault on the taxi driver Mary Lynch by Jerry McGrath and the subsequent behaviour of their members in downgradinng the severity of the assault to “minor”, to lying that the classification of the charge was “on the direction of the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.” and to explain the actions of their members:

Garda Padraig McEvoy - misclassified the case as minor and lied about saying the classification was based on a direction of the DPP

Garda Peter O’Sullivan - said he would keep Mary Lynch informed of the progress of the case, told he there was no need for her to attend court and lied while blaming the call on instructions received from Sergeant Maurice McCabe

Garda Padraig McEvoy is still a Garda and fighting not to be investigated over his actions with the financial support of the GRA: … -1.2688099

See the following extracts from the O’Higgins report on this event. Bear in mind that as a result of the incompetence and corruption of the Gardai in Cavan, Jerry McGrath was free to murder Sylvia Roche Kelly. What about a poster of the dead woman from the GRA congratulating their members on the wonderful work they did?

Previous Reports on Garda Performance

If you are interested in reading the detail of Garda corruption and the tacit toleration and support these corrupt individuals receive from their colleagues just read the O’Higgins report and the various reports of the Morris Tribunal:

O’Higgins Report … Report.pdf

Morris Tribunal … ID=113.htm

Guerin Report - precursor to the O’Higgins tribunal … eport1.pdf

The individuals named in these reports were not senior Gardai. They were ordinary Gardai, Sergeants and Inspectors, members of the GRA and the AGSI. Those organisation have never spoken about the corruption of their members.

How many members of the GRA and AGSI illegally cancelled penalty points for themselves, their colleagues and their relatives and friends? Did the GRA or the AGSI ever issue any advice to their members not to illegally exploit their positions as Gardai and not do this?

None of the Gardai named in these and other reports were ever prosecuted. Some retired on their pensions. Most continue to work.

Crime Statistics

Just read the CSO’s review of the quality of crime statistics - … fcrime.pdf

Gardai routinely do not record crimes, classify serious crimes as less serious and routinely classify crimes as solved when they are not. They do this to make their rate of work seem greater than it is or perhaps because they are too lazy to do their jobs properly. The GRA do not have a poster about this with the face of an injured member of the public under a caption along the lines of “Shure it wasn’t that serious. There no need to report this. Just take a few Panadol. You’ll be grand.”.

The members of the GRA and the AGSI participate in this casual and pervasive corruption of crime reporting and crime statistics every day. Yet they still assert they are doing such a difficult and wonderful job and deserve increased pay.

How many Gardai participated directly in actions such as covering up crimes in Donegal and Cavan, the cancellation of penalty points and the deliberate non-reporting and mis-classification or crimes? Probably hundreds out of a force of 13,000. The proportion might be 5% or less. Yet how many Gardai maintain their you’re-either-with-us-or-against-us, whatever-you-say-say-nothing stance, shield and protect their incompetent and corrupt colleagues from investigation and prevent reforms? Probably thousands - a very significant proportion of all Gardai.


So, do the Gardai deserve their recent pay award? No, they do not, in my view.

Their bluff about going on strike should have been called. The consequences of their actions should have be made manifestly clear. Any Gardai who went on strike should have been immediately sacked and charged with an offence.

Instead we have a Garda force with a massive sense of entitlement, invincibility and invulnerability maintained and even enhanced and reinforced. We have a weak government and Department of Justice that have allowed themselves be further weakened.

So maybe if the executives and the members of the GRA and AGSI put up their hands, acknowledged the pervasive casual corruption of the Gardai and their roles in this, supported the removal of these people and publically stated their willingness to transform themselves they might deserve additional pay linked to measurably achieved improvements.

We are going to have lots of claims for public service “pay restoration” that is to the highs after the disaster of benchmarking. In response all we have is an inept government that does not have a plan A let alone a plan B.

We are still borrowing money to pay public service salaries. Now we just to borrow more.

Enda Kenny is stupid, devious and dishonest. He puts his own self-interest first rather than that of the country or his party. He surrounds himself by his own supporters, irrespective of their abilities. Frances Fitzgerald is so out of her depth, a well-meaning twit who would need water wings while crossing the road in the rain. The GRA and AGSI spun her in rings.

The only reason this shabby collection of independents and Fine Gael stay in power is because Mehole “Ducky” Martin wants to continue to let them make fools of themselves while avoiding having to make any hard decisions, as characterised by his nickname.


Good post ChickenP. You should post that in the ‘Who’ll police the police’ thread also.


Yes, good post CP. Accountability is weak throughout the whole PS, but particularly so in the Garda, where it is most vital.


“Under the Haddington Road Agreement (HRA) there was provision for a three-month increment delay for staff earning under €35K, two three-month delays for staff earning between €35 and €65K, and two six-month delays for staff earning over €65K. There is a three-year freeze for staff on salaries starting over €100K. Once these liabilities are discharged, no further delays arise for any of the categories. Specifically, no delays are created by the Lansdowne Road Agreement.” - This is from Impact.


You could add the Sophie Toscan du Plantier case, my opinion is that Bailey is probably innocent and the investigation was grossly incompetent.


And because the investigation was so incompetent, we’ll never know :frowning:


Fek, I thought Labour were dead and buried. But no, they’ve revamped the party, changed leader and are pursuing different angles and policies to what sent them to the grave…Not!!!

Brendan Howlin: It is ludicrous to suggest public service salaries cannot be restored … 4400005236

Next week, Brendan will write about House Price restoration and applaud his role in the last Government that led to Rent restoration + some


And that’s coming from the clown who was Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. As soon as he was appointed to that position I knew there would be f all reform.


INMO to ballot members for industrial action
The Irish Nurses & Midwives Organisation is to ballot its 40,000 members for industrial action in pursuit of accelerated restoration of pay cuts. The action will start with a work to rule and move to one day stoppages.


A friend teaches in a school in England.

Every teacher is ‘monitored’ by other teachers several times a term. This basically means sitting in another teacher’s class and giving them constructive feedback on their techniques after the lesson. This has the potential to be 1) a BS exercise but she says 2) that it is taken incredibly seriously. 2) comes down to culture rather than formal process. of course.

By contrast Irish secondary teachers basically say ‘trust us’ and in many respects there are advantages to an almost complete lack of management oversight. Like you say it is cheap to implement and most teachers are fine. But in its absence there is essentially no way to even identify poor performance never mind address it. There were a few really bad teachers during my own spell in the Irish education system and I don’t think management had any visibility of it.


The PER’s reform plan … ction.html states:

Yes, the public service salary bill dropped to €14.1 billion in 2013. It has since increased by over €1.1 billion. These costs exclude local authorities, non-commercial state agencies and commercial semi-state companies. The actual pay bill increase was 7.84%. In the same time, numbers employed increased by 4.26%. So average salaries are increasing. The trend is up.

Note that the net pension bill also increased from €2.252 billion in 2013 to €2.551 billion in 2016.

No it has not.

So rather than saving an additional “€1 billion in the Public Service pay and pensions bill by 2016”. the costs have increased by €1.4 billion.

The PER database provides some information on public service salary bill and numbers - see

Their data on public service numbers is based on:

Their public service pay cost data excludes the costs of local authorities and the non-commercial state agencies or NCSAs.

Both the cost and number data excludes commercial semi-state organisation.

The public service gross salary costs, excluding local authorities and NCSAs, peaked in 2008 at a cost of 18.732 billion. To this, another 3.6 billion or so must be added to cover the pay costs of local authorities and NCSAs, giving an estimated total of 21.972 billion. This excludes commercial semi-state bodies such ESB Group.

I don’t know if where Irish Water features in these numbers, both in staff numbers and costs, if at all. About 4,000 local authority staff involved in water and waste water treatment were transferred to Irish Water. There is no drop of 4,000 in the numbers in local authorities.

In 2008, there were an average of 320,387 public servants, including local authorities and NCSAs.

In 2016, the public service pay bill excluding local authorities and NCSAs will be around 15.164 billion. The estimated cost for local authorities and NCSAs will be around 2.5 billion, giving a total of 17.664 billion.

In 2016, there will be around 302,438 public servants, including local authorities and NCSAs.

So the total pay bill has dropped around 19.6% from the peak of 2008 to 2016. In the same time, the number of public servants has dropped by 5.6% which accounts for a portion of the drop of the pay bill.

As a public servant, you will also know that a portion of the drop in the pay bill will have been caused by the recruitment of new public servants who start at lower grades with lower salaries and who do not have the same salary and other conditions as their older colleagues.

The CSO databank is littered with multiple partial, incomplete, overlapping and contradictory sets on public service salaries and numbers such as:

• PSA01 Public Sector Average Weekly Earnings by Type of Public Sector Employment and Year (1988-2008)
• PSQ01 Employment and Earnings in Public Sector by Type of Public Sector Employment, Quarter and Statistic (1988Q1-2009Q3)
• EHQ10 Public Sector Employment and Earnings by Quarter, Sub Sector and Statistic (2008Q1-2016Q2)

None of these agree with the PER and Department of Finance data.

I do not have the time or interest to attempt to reconcile these.

For example, series EHQ10 gives details on Total Public Sector including Semi State bodies and average weekly earnings. You would have thought working out the total salary bill would involve multiplying numbers in work by average weekly earnings by average weeks in a year.

Quarter          Number     Average Weekly Earnings
2008Q1           417,000                     €904.81
2008Q2           421,400                     €930.53
2008Q3           417,100                     €930.15
2008Q4           427,300                     €956.73
2009Q1           421,200                     €934.01
2009Q2           417,700                     €946.13
2009Q3           409,500                     €963.76
2009Q4           409,700                     €964.74
2010Q1           406,800                     €895.43
2010Q2           409,500                     €907.85
2010Q3           404,600                     €940.19
2010Q4           404,100                     €916.93
2011Q1           409,400                     €893.83
2011Q2           407,200                     €893.70
2011Q3           394,700                     €916.85
2011Q4           391,600                     €919.06
2012Q1           389,200                     €917.46
2012Q2           383,400                     €916.99
2012Q3           379,600                     €925.79
2012Q4           381,800                     €921.42
2013Q1           378,000                     €915.62
2013Q2           378,200                     €928.03
2013Q3           376,200                     €914.03
2013Q4           376,500                     €907.83
2014Q1           375,600                     €902.98
2014Q2           373,900                     €918.00
2014Q3           371,900                     €904.37
2014Q4           374,000                     €910.98
2015Q1           374,500                     €906.57
2015Q2           376,200                     €917.24
2015Q3           376,300                     €907.00
2015Q4           379,600                     €927.83
2016Q1           386,600                     €901.69
2016Q2           389,400                     €905.97

The numbers include part-time workers counted as full workers. The PER numbers may be FTE equivalents.

Regarding your comment on salary scales and increments, my understanding is that the following are the numbers of salary points for common civil service grades:

• Assistant Secretary - 5 points in salary
• Principal Officer - 5 points in salary + 2 additional long-service increments
• Assistant Principal - 6 points in salary + 2 additional long-service increments
• Higher Executive Officer - 7 points in salary + 2 additional long-service increments
• Executive Officer - 12 points in salary + 2 additional long-service increments
• Clerical Officer - 12 points in salary + 2 additional long-service increments


Thank you Chicken Parmentier for providing the back up and basis in the main for what I had failed to do.

So there you have it, salaries have been increasing for a good few public servants all the while since 2008, by means of increment increases.

Increment increases for some while others slouch around and managers don’t generally do anything about it.


These are not necessarily disjoint sets…


The trough is open for business

Government given ultimatum by Siptu ahead of key meeting of unions next week … -1.2863456