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Cabinet approves increase in pay for judges and party whips

Ministers have approved a legal order today to increase judges’ pay by 2%, which has applied from October.

Image: Shutterstock/D. Ribeiro

PAY RISES FOR judges and an increase in allowances for party whips have been approved by ministers at a Cabinet meeting today.

Judges have received a pay increase alongside other rises in pay for staff in the public service.

At a press conference today, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said that “every public servant got a 2% pay increase in October, with the exception of government ministers who declined it”.

“Nurses, teachers, gardaí, civil servants and judges got that 2% increase back in October, the same as everyone else. It wouldn’t be possible to think about one group and say they couldn’t get it.”

Additionally, an increased allowance for party whips in the Dáil has also been approved.

Varadkar said that the total cost of the allowances will be “lower in this Dáil than in the last Dáil because there are fewer allowances and there have been reductions, so the total cost is actually down”. 

“The 2% increased applied from October, applied to all public servants, and among them are judges, and what has happened at Cabinet today was just the legal order for that to happen,” he said.

For Sinn Féin, which is the largest opposition party in the Dáil, Cabinet has approved a €9,000 increase for the party whip and a €4,500 increase for the assistant whip.

Sinn Féin Chief Whip Padraig Mac Lochlainn said that he would “not be accepting this pay increase and will return it to the exchequer in solidarity with the thousands of our workers and businesses who are struggling through this crisis”.

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Tweet by @Pádraig Mac Lochlainn TD Source: Pádraig Mac Lochlainn TD/Twitter

Varadkar said that the allowances have “existed for decades” and that the increase in judges’ pay is “exactly the same as every other public servant got in October”.

“These are not new allowances. Whips and committee chairmen have been paid for as long as I can remember,” Varadkar said.

Each political party appoints a TD or senator as the party’s whip, who is then responsible for maintaining party discipline and seeing that elected members vote in line with the rest of the party.

Around 343,000 public sector workers would have been in line for the pay increase that was introduced in October.

Estimates suggested that the rise would cost the State €264 million in 2021.

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