GOVERNMENT MINISTERS HAVE agreed they will not take a €4,000 pay hike next year.
The pay increase – or pay restoration – under the Haddington Road Agreement for public servants, would see Cabinet ministers receive €4,000 a year for the next three years and TDs getting €5,000 over the next two years.
Today, Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe formally asked his Cabinet colleagues to forego their pay restoration.
It is understood that the decision to waive the pay raise was unanimous.
Speaking to the media today, Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe all public office holders at ministerial and minister of state level will forfeit the pay restoration.
The last Taoiseach was paid €275,000, this Taoiseach is paid approximately €175,000. Those changes were needed, they were right, they were proper because of the journey the country had went through and I also believe approach in which this government is taking in relation to political pay is the right one too, as while we have a country that is recovering, it is not a country that has yet recovered.
The unaffordable wage increase of tomorrow is the savage wage cut of the day afterwards. We don’t want to go down that route.
In relation to the payment of TDs, he said he continues to believe that the best path forward for these payments is for them to be anchored with payments to principal officers, which is a certain highband of civil servant worker.
If we don’t use that anchor we will end up back with politicians determining what other politicians are paid. That is not the right way to deal with an issue as sensitive as politicians’ pay.
He said whether TDs want to accept the wage increase “is a matter for them”.
All eyes on the remaining TDs
Eyes now turn to TDs as to whether they will also turn down the wage hike.
Last week, the Department for Public Expenditure would not comment on TDs’ pay increases when asked by TheJournal.ie, but the matter is expected to be the subject of forthcoming Dáil debates.
The pay rise for TDs has sparked controversy, due to a lack of clarity on a start date for the €5 to be added to social welfare payments.
Speaking on RTÉ’s Claire Byrne Live programme last night, Housing Minister Simon Coveney said he expected ministers to waive the increase, acknowledging it is an issue the public are concerned about.
“We need to make sure we are in tune with what the country is thinking,” he said.
However, he would not be drawn on what individual TDs should do.
I don’t want to to start putting individual TDs on the spot. Lots of people have different circumstance they are living in and people should make their own minds up.
Last week a number of TDs spoke out against the rise in pay for TDs, with the Minister of State Finian McGrath stating that TDs needed to “stop whinging” and forego the pay hike.
Those in the opposition benches have also criticised the increase.
In a statement to TheJournal.ie, Sinn Féin said it will be seeking to block the implementation of the pay increase in the Dáil.
We will be seeking the support of the entire opposition, including Fianna Fáil. We are opposed to increase.
Speaking on the RTÉ’s Late Debate last week, AAA-PBP TD Brid Smith could not confirm that her Dáil colleagues would not be taking the increase, stating that the party had yet to meet to discuss the issue.