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The secret life of John Halligan TD

4th July 2016

Minister without trace

We’ve done our best to find out more about John Halligan T.D., the Junior Jobs Minister or to give him his formal title, Minister of State for Training and Skills. A Google search for a profile of the former Workers Party member doesn’t yield much at all. The link from his Twitter account to a personal website seems to be broken and the only reference we can find to what John has done in his past life is that he may have been a radio operator but whether he worked for himself or for someone else is not clear.

Minister for No Jobs

We mention this because of the ironic call that Mr. Halligan has made to have the minimum wage raised by 25%, from €9.15 to €11.50 over the next two years. We say ironic because as previously mentioned he’s meant to be a junior minister for jobs. And yet this populist call is one way of ensuring that few if any of the most needed unskilled jobs will be created – directly affecting the people we imagine Deputy Halligan is trying to impress.

Minister for unfunny talk

There is a fundamental problem with attitudes in government in this country. They like being very flaithiúil with anybody’s money except their own. They have previously robbed private pension pots. Now Mr. Halligan has decided that it’s OK for him to suggest that employers cough up 25% more in wages. It’s absolute la-la land economics. Think of a number, double it to ensure a good headline, and then suggest that other people (the owners of small businesses, in the main) pay it.

Follow the money

There is a reluctance amongst media commentators to call out these crackpot notions, as journalists writing about such matters are generally decent people and think that disagreeing with calls for more money for people would look like they’re being uncaring and nasty. The same writers also don’t run businesses so they don’t feel the pain of finding a way to pay such amounts. The vast, vast bulk of smaller companies struggle to survive. There’s no big pot of money being squirrelled away by their owners – if there was you can be sure the Revenue Commissioners would have tracked that money down aeons ago.

50,000 jobs lost?

There are more than 200,000 small and medium enterprises in this country. If even just 25% of them had to lay off just one person due to this crazy jump in wages then all the progress we’ve made in getting Ireland back to work over the last two years would be undone. So why would a Minister for Jobs, in the full knowledge that Brexit uncertainty and Sterling weakness is already hurting SMEs, look for a 25% rise in wages? Surely it couldn’t be that the Minister for Jobs knows nothing about jobs?