WHILE less than one third of voters in Laois/Offaly voted in last Saturday’s Children’s Referendum, Senator John Whelan believes the Government, if required, should call another referendum to curb ‘fat-cat pay and golden handshakes’.
The Labour representative said the public won’t stand for inaction. “Only last year the Government correctly moved and passed a constitutional amendment to enable it to curb judges’ pay. It should now do so again, if required, to tackle exorbitant executive pay in State supported banks and obscene publicly funded pensions, which the country can no longer afford.”
He added, “These are extraordinary times and require extraordinary measures and exceptional leadership.”
The Laois based Senator said it is imperative that Government tackles excessive executive pay in State owned and State supported banks, which are being propped up by the taxpayer.
He said his proposal wasn’t about getting at retired senior bankers, declaring that fairness would have to apply across the board.
“It is also incumbent on the Government to find a judicious and fair way to reduce pensions which are funded out of the public purse to a sustainable and reasonable level.”
Senator Whelan doesn’t agree with the contention that there is nothing the Government can do about these issues due to contractual, legal or constitutional reasons.
“If there are legal ramifications or impediments to tackling this vexed question then the Government of the day have an obligation to act, rather than to claim helplessness in the matter.”
Senator Whelan welcomed the fact that Labour Leader and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore stated in the Dáil last week that ‘the days of the Golden Circle are over’.
Meanwhile, just 32% (34,838) of the Laois/Offaly electorate voted in the Children’s Referendum with the ‘Yes’ side claiming a 53.66% (18,563) to 46.34% (16,029) victory.