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Micheál Martin to be paid more as Taoiseach than Varadkar was after 'pay cut'

Martin will be paid almost €1,500 more than Varadkar was in the last government, despite a 10% cut to the official level of pay.

Image: RollingNews.ie

MICHEÁL MARTIN WILL still be paid more as Taoiseach than Leo Varadkar was in the last government, despite announcing a 10% ‘pay cut’ for ministers yesterday.

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

However the Taoiseach and his ministers will still earn more than their predecessors after the 10% is deducted.

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 Varadkar was when he did the job.

Senior ministers will earn around €1,000 more than their predecessors.

However, the new levels of pay are more permanent, creating new headline figures, rather than relying on individual governments taking a decision to waive pay restoration. 

On Friday, the Dáil voted to pass legislation to extend a €16,000 allowance to all three super junior ministers in the current Cabinet. This allowance will be unaffected by the so-called cut announced yesterday.

Yesterday the Taoiseach acknowledged that allowance for junior ministers “could have been handled better” by the government.

Under the previous rules, only two super juniors could avail of the allowance, which is paid out on top of the Minister of State salary of €124,439.

Speaking to the Neil Prendeville Show on Cork’s RedFM this morning, Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath defended the government pay arrangements.

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“The previous government for the past number of years opted to not accept the pay restoration every other public servant was getting under the public service pay agreement,” he said.

“That added up over a period of time, it was a very complicated way of doing it and so a decision had to be made when a new government was formed, how to deal with the issue of pay for members of government and ministers.

In the absence of doing nothing, everyone would have been paid the full amount – the official salary for Taoiseach, Tánaiste, minster, minister of state and so on. So a decision was made, we will go for a straight 10% pay cut off the official level of pay and then in addition to that, we would not accept the 2% increase in pay that is due to all public servants and politicians on 1 October. 
In effect it is a 12% reduction in pay from the official level of pay.

He said the government believed it was “far simpler and straightforward” to take a cut off the official salary figure.

McGrath said he does not envisage a pay increase for ministers any time soon, noting that they are in “a very privileged position”.

“I’m certainly not there for the money, I never have been, it’s never been my motivation for being involved in politics, I’m not concerned about pay.”

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