A government document naming the Murphy family from Wicklow as the Official Standard Family has been leaked to the media ahead of Budget 2012 and on the day that crushing PAYE hikes are announced.
The document, a memo from Joan Burton to Finance Minister Michael Noonan, names the family and asks whether another different type of property tax in the upcoming budget would be reasonable considering the already stiff fines proposed, to which Noonan replies “ya sur dey both have grand jobs and himself owns a pub der’s no bother dey can afford it neway. MN”
The Standard Family as a unit of measurement has been used in budgetary decision making since the 1980s to justify some of the leaner cuts and harsher decisions brought about by difficult financial climates. It is an open secret among cabinet officials that Charles Haughey rounded up a nurse and a Garda in 1980 and forced them to procreate and invest in pubs and coach minor GAA in order to spawn a perfect Irish family on which to base budgetary cutbacks and belt-tightening rhetoric.
The Standard Family practice sees the Finance department taking a copy of the family’s budget for each month and working from this during their budgetary meetings. “It’s important to have real, hard evidence from Irish people at the coalface. We need to know that these budget projections are realistic and reasonable in terms of average hardworking Irish families” said Burton.
The current standard family comprises two high-earning yet time-rich civil servants and their two children. John Murphy is a senior garda and publican with a thriving off-licence business and a stake in two local Supermacs restaurants and the use of a chipper van at the weekends and a large number of land assets to his name and two houses and a Bulgarian apartment complex. His wife Mary Murphy is a teacher and publican with a modest property portfolio and a PR business who trains under-21 Camogie and is a keen set dancer. She owns and manages the local Centra and is a member of many commitees and councils where she actively participates as well as running the NITE_vibe nightclub in Greystones. Their two children (John and Mary) are both full-time Gardaí and are each studying law and medicine by night and are both champion minor hurlers and publicans.
Asked whether the Family Standard practise was outmoded and clashed with the modern Irish landscape, Noonan argued that it was the only way to “really see what effect our decisions as legislators have on families in the real world”.
“In fact, the finance department are considering taking it further – we are discussing the option of placing the family in an entirely artificial environment where I will watch everything using hundreds of cameras linked to me in a control room. We will see how our taxation decisions play out in real-time. We will see how grocery budgets affect PAYE payments. We will see it all. I’m going to be the controller of their world. I will set the sun, I will make the rain, I will make them fall in and out of love, I will be their God.”
“I’m also considering wearing a flat cap backwards, turning the whole thing into a TV show and selling it to Channel 4” he added.