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Michael D Higgins gets a kiss from wife Sabina Coyne as it becomes clear that he's in line to become President of Ireland - and for a €250,000 pay packet. Julien Behal/PA Wire
Pay Day

Higher or lower: how does Michael D's new salary compare to other heads of state?

The new President of Ireland will be paid the reduced capped wage of just under €250,000 per annum – but for the size of our country, is that a good deal?

MICHAEL D HIGGINS is set to earn up to €1.75 million over the next seven years at the Áras.

As it stands, the salary for the Irish president is just under €250,000 per annum, reduced under the public pay cap legislation. (President Mary McAleese didn’t have to take that pay cut, but offered to.)

It got us thinking – is this too much or too little for a head of state to earn? Is it just right? has taken a look at the salaries of some other heads of state with a largely ceremonial role.

Note: The salaries are all converted into euro, while we have included the corresponding country’s total GDP (Gross Domestic Product) for 2010 to offer context. Some of the monarchs included have to pay for the upkeep of their residences and travel expenses out of their salary, but the residences are often in fact owned by the state. (All images from Press Association)

Higher or lower: how does Michael D's new salary compare to other heads of state?
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  • Germany

    President Christian Wulff has a largely ceremonial role - with some 'reserve powers' in politically instable times. Salary: €213,000 Germany's GDP: €2.47trillion
  • UK, Australia, Canada and other Commonwealth countries

    Queen Elizabeth II is head of state of 16 Commonwealth countries. Salary: €9m GDP: Over €7trillion (combined total of all Commonwealth states)
  • Netherlands

    Dutch Queen Beatrix opening parliament. Salary: €5.1m GDP: €554bn
  • Russian Federation

    President Dmitry Medvedev is head of state while Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is head of government. Salary: €78,134 Russia GDP: €1.04trillion
  • France

    President Nicolas Sarkozy is head of state and but, to be fair, he outranks the Prime Minister and wields a great deal of power. Salary: €240,000 GDP: €1.82 trillion
  • Sweden

    King Carl Gustaf XVI of Sweden's role is largely symbolic. Salary: circa €14m GDP:€385bn
  • Austria

    President Heinz Fischer largely has a ceremonial role. Salary: €323,350 GDP: €544,716bn

What do you think, is €250,000 an appropriate salary for Ireland’s head of state?

Poll Results:

No (2342)
Yes (1610)
I don't know (187)

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