AN OUTGOING FIANNA FÁIL TD has been criticised after claiming that his current wage – of over €100,000 a year – leaves him no better off financially than his 1974 salary of £6.
Johnny Brady, a Meath West TD with main offices in Athboy, told a Trim Chamber of Commerce meeting that although he now earned much more than he did in 1974, when be began working for Meath County Council on a salary of £6, his relative take-home pay was no larger.
“People imagine that politicians are cleaning up on salaries and expenses,” the Meath Chronicle quotes him as explaining. “All expenses are vouched for, and we have to put in an account for all expenses and this is there for the media or anyone to see.”
After cuts, taxies and levies, he said, he would take home around €45,000 – which meant that his bank account was not much better off today than when he began his working life.
This was because, he said, he incurred far more personal expenses now than he had previously done – such as having to personally pay for an extension to his house where he could meet visitors, and needing ‘a good car under him’.
The Chronicle adds that Brady denied implying that he struggled to survive on his wage, though he did confirm that his wife would regularly ask him when his paycheque would be arriving, because their bank account would run low.
A businessperson present at the Chamber of Commerce meeting said Brady’s comments had gone down “like a lead balloon”, and commented that many in attendance – who were struggling with their local businesses – were appalled at his comments.
Brady earns a basic salary €98,424 – the highest a TD can earn, based on having more than ten years’ service in the Dáil – and a further €10,012 a year for being chairman of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture & Food.
Until July of 2009, Brady earned over €20,000 a year for being chairman of that committee, which he has chaired since 2002. Oireachtas records show that while Brady does not claim unvouched expenses, his vouched claims regularly amount to €4,670 a month.