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Three junior ministers at Cabinet who were to receive €16k pay rise set to give part of it back

The move from the government had come under sustained criticism in recent days.

The Taoiseach said yesterday the matter could've been
The Taoiseach said yesterday the matter could've been "handled better" by government.
Image: Julien Behal Photography

THE THREE JUNIOR Ministers who sit at Cabinet will waive the additional pay increase allocated to them last week, the government has said.

Instead, Fianna Fáil’s Jack Chambers, Fine Gael’s Hildegarde Naughton and Green Party’s Pippa Hackett will “gift it back to the State”. 

The move – which was heavily criticised – would have seen all three junior ministers avail of an extra €16,000 a year on top of the minister of state salary of €124,439.

Under the previous rules, only two so-called super juniors – i.e. junior ministers who sit at Cabinet – could avail of this extra €16k.

However, the Dáil voted to pass legislation to allow all three to receive the extra allowance last Friday. 

While the extra €16k has now been waived, the three junior ministers will share the existing allowance leaving them with a little over €10,000 extra apiece.

At the weekend, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said he accepts the “great annoyance and anger” being expressed over the move. 

“We have a number of ministers of state around the Cabinet table that were being paid differently and we were looking to get to a point that if they were doing the same work they were paid the same,” he said. 

Yesterday, Taoiseach Micheál Martin announced the Cabinet had agreed on a 10% pay cut for government ministers

As pointed out here, ministers in the past two governments waived pay restoration they were due under the public service pay agreement.

The 10% cut announced last night will be deducted from the amount ministers would be receiving if that pay restoration had not been waived – so the cut is a percentage of a larger overall number.

This means Martin will be paid €186,831 – almost €1,500 more than Leo Varadkar was when he held the role of Taoiseach. Senior ministers will earn around €1,000 more than their predecessors.

Also speaking last night, Martin acknowledged that the allowance for junior ministers  “could have been handled better” by the government.

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In a government statement today, it said: “The three Junior Ministers who sit at Cabinet, Minister Jack Chambers TD, Minister Hildegarde Naughton TD and Minister Pippa Hackett have decided to waive and gift back to the State the increased allocation which was approved by the Dáil last week. This is in addition to the 10 percent pay cut for all Ministers, which was collectively agreed by Cabinet yesterday.”

With reporting from Michelle Hennessy, Christina Finn

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Sean Murray

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