The president of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA) has said that it is “difficult to convince oneself that Ireland’s workforce was ‘all in this together'” during the pandemic.

Pat McCormack claimed that self-employed people and people working in the private sector are “looking on with bemusement” as state employees “loudly proclaim their own ‘sacrifices’ and jostle for their place in the ever-lengthening queue for the state-sector Covid bonus payment”. 

He added that “no one doubted the efforts made by frontline medical staff and the harm’s way that those people had put themselves in”.

“It was somewhat curious and galling to see other groups of state employees who had worked through Zoom now stridently putting themselves forward for a bonus to be paid out of revenues raised, in part, through taxation on the private and self-employed sectors, who had either worked away as normal everyday of the pandemic, or actually lost their jobs altogether,” McCormack said.

He said it is “difficult to convince oneself that Ireland’s workforce was ‘all in this together’ when one part of the workforce was not alone insulated from any economic fallout from the pandemic, but seemed to think it merited a reward for this privilege”.

Availability of food

“The second only to the frontline medical workers, the most important people in Ireland for those 18-odd months were the people – including, but not limited to farmer members – who had worked in the food-supply chain ensuring the availability of superb quality fresh food every hour of every day,” McCormack continued.

“It [is] both curious and telling that this work was not deemed as risky or important as conducting routine administration by remote computer from your own home.”

McCormack added that one of the biggest problems Ireland faces in dealing with the “historic challenge” presented by climate change is “the depressing complacency around food security and supply”.

“Farmers had long suspected a growing level of misunderstanding and delusion around the question, but the antics and posturing around the so-called Covid bonus justified that anxiety…” the ICMSA president concluded.