Croke Park deal to save TDs and senators from pay cuts
TDs and senators are set to escape pay cuts to their salaries in the forthcoming Budget because of the Croke Park Agreement.
And there are doubts about whether the new 10pc salary cut for all new public service workers included in the four- year budgetary plan will apply to TDs elected for the first time at the next general election.
The Budget will contain €6bn of taxation increases and cutbacks, which will include cuts to social welfare payments and a €1 per hour cut in the minimum wage.
But Junior Minister Martin Mansergh signalled yesterday that the TDs who voted for it would not have their salaries cut as a result of the agreement that protects public sector pay.
"The salaries of deputies is tied to that of a principal officer (in the civil service) and the senators to assistant principals. Under the Croke Park Agreement, no further reductions in salaries are contemplated," he said.
It is the first time that a government minister has included TDs and senators in the remit of the Croke Park Agreement.
TDs are currently paid between €92,672 and €98,424 depending on their length of service, while senators are paid between €65,621 and €69,647.
Although the Department of Finance will not comment on budgetary measures, Mr Mansergh's remarks are a strong indication that the pay of TDs will not be touched. And none of the main political parties, with the exception of Sinn Fein, has called for a cut in TDs' salaries.
The Department of Finance could not clarify last night if TDs would be affected by the proposed 10pc salary cut for all new public service workers.
"This is something that will have to be ironed out in the Budget, not just for TDs but for all grades in the public service," a spokesman explained.
In the Dail yesterday, Mr Mansergh noted that there had been a point made recently about political salaries -- which he said had been reduced by 20pc at ministerial level.
"People are asking what further sacrifices will be made. The answer to that is in higher levels of taxation," he said.
Mr Mansergh told the Irish Independent last night that he did not want to take from the point that politicians were well paid.
But he said that politicians were linked to pay scales in the civil service, whose members were protected from pay cuts by the Croke Park Agreement.
"I don't see why politicians should be divorced from that linkage. If you're talking about taking pain, that pain can come as easily through the taxation system," he said.
TDs salaries were cut last year due to the public sector pay cuts and the public service pension levy. But the State will still spend €17.6m this year on paying their wages and there is almost €10m budgeted for their expenses. The wages of our senators will cost €4.4m this year while their expenses will cost €3m. That amounts to a total pay and expenses bill of €35m.
The national recovery plan noted that the Government had reduced the pay of ministers, TDs, senators and senior public officials last year.