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Our View: Government and parties both turning a blind eye to Cybc abuses

Most people know that the Cybc, like all public organisations, is a badly-run drain on state funds. We were reminded of this again by the report prepared by the auditor-general, that consisted of a long list of irregularities in recruitment, promotions, remuneration and overtime pay.

“Instead of the corporation taking measures to reduce its staff and the payroll cost, it pursues the upgrading of positions and salaries, creation of new promotion positions, transforming workers on finite contracts into workers on open-ended contracts and new appointments through non-transparent and in many cases scandalous procedures,” said the report.

It also cited a study by PWC which had suggested cutting staff by 60 and costs by €1.8 million. Instead, the cost had increased by 28 per cent over a three-year period, without anyone showing the least bit of concern as the taxpayer would pick up the bill. This has been the story of the Cybc, which had a huge deficit in its pension fund that the taxpayer has been covering instead of the pensions being reduced.

From time to time a government would call for cost-cutting, and after some half-baked measures the idea was abandoned and there was a return to old practices. The same has happened now. During the recession, some cost-cutting measures were taken before the corporation returned to its traditional, wasteful ways, mindlessly hiring people and bloating its payroll. There were also the abuses of overtime pay by staff, signed off by management, which were highlighted by the auditor-general.

Governments and the political parties have always turned a blind eye to this profligacy because they all use the corporation for their own purposes. It is standard practice for them to arrange the employment of ‘loyal’ supporters who will then serve their benefactors with positive reports, television exposure and so on. Is it any surprise that none of the politicians make an issue out of the swelling staff numbers and increasing financial needs of the Cybc? Nor do they complain about the irregularities listed by the auditor-general, because they are responsible for them.

The corporation’s finances will never be put in order because it serves the parties and the government of the day. Staff know it is a free-for-all, which is why they abuse overtime pay, the promotions system and become permanent staff on finite contracts. Of course, for all this to happen the board, which is made up of party appointees, as well as top management condone the irregularities and, in some cases, are the instigators. These scandalous goings-on, which are a form of corruption, will never stop as long as the taxpayer keeps picking up the bill and saying nothing. Only the people who are funding this corruption can stop it, because neither the government nor the parties will do it.

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