TDs still in line for €5k pay rise
Published 14/10/2016 | 02:30
The country's TDs are still set to get pay hikes of €2,707 next year despite confirmation that ministers will forgo their increases.
Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have not issued any instructions to TDs on how to deal with the increases which have caused considerable disquiet.
It comes after the Irish Independent revealed that politicians are in line to see wage cuts applied during the recession restored from April 1, 2017.
Following huge public disquiet, Cabinet members will now to turn down €12,000 worth of increments due by 2019.
Education Minister Richard Bruton told the Dáil: "The Government will confirm next week that ministers will not be taking the pay rise."
However, the option of getting a salary boost remains open to TDs. They are due to get a €5,414 increase by January 1, 2018.
In the Dáil, Sinn Féin's Mary Lou McDonald said the Budget had delivered derisory increases to low-paid workers and the extra €5 weekly welfare increase contrasted starkly with planned pay for politicians.
"Once again there is one rule for ordinary families and citizens. Look after 'Number 1' - the others can wait," she said.
Her party will seek to block the implementation of the pay increases, with a spokesperson saying they will look for Fianna Fáil support on the issue.
However, a Fianna Fáil spokesperson told the Irish Independent last night that the TDs' pay is linked to the civil service Principle Officer grade "to ensure transparency".
"The legislation to begin reversing pay cuts imposed under emergency legislation was debated in the Dáil and Seanad in 2015 and was supported by all the major political parties in the Oireachtas.
"It is our view that the link should be retained and that TD pay should continue to be determined in this independent, objective and transparent way as decided in 2001," he said.
Fine Gael said they had taken "no decision" in relation to TDs' pay. "In previous decades there was a separate wage plan for TDs which was not appropriate - the pay of politicians should be far removed from political influence. Now they are aligned to public service pay rates.
"The Lansdowne Road Agreement secured a partial pay restoration for the public service on a phased basis, so any change for TDs is in line with public service rates," the party said.
Similarly, the Labour Party pointed to the fact politicians are tied into the Lansdowne Road Agreement along with civil servants, although they do support ministers not taking their increases.
A spokesperson for the Social Democrats said decisions on politicians' pay should be made by an independent body.
Catherine Murphy and Roisin Shortall "do not believe that the politician's element of the pay restoration should go ahead".
People Before Profit have not yet discussed the issue.
During a Dáil debate, Mr Bruton hit back at Sinn Féin, stating: "I am surprised at Deputy McDonald, when she is the very one who opposed FEMPI, which applied progressive cuts and where the cut in the Taoiseach's pay was 41pc and people on the very lowest pay did not receive any cuts."
"I think she is shedding crocodile tears now, when she comes in and says that some individuals should not get pay increases."