Saturday 21 October 2017

Recession is over for TDs who pocket €2,700 hike in pay

Paschal Donohoe. Photo: Tom Burke
Paschal Donohoe. Photo: Tom Burke
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

The recession is over for the vast majority of TDs, who will accept a €2,700 boost to their pay packets this week.

Despite calls for politicians to forego wage restoration, a survey by the Irish Independent has found that upward of 90 will be accepting the increase.

The deputies are among thousands of civil servants who, under the Lansdowne Road Agreement, are entitled to start clawing back pay cuts inflicted during the recession.

While Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe asked ministers to voluntarily gift the money back to the State following huge controversy last October, most political parties opted to allow TDs decide for themselves.

The Irish Independent contacted every TD in recent days to ask about the pay rise.

Of the main parties, just two Fine Gael backbenchers and one Fianna Fáil TD confirmed they will not take the increase.

Sinn Féin has instructed all 23 of its TDs to sign waiver forms allowing the State to recoup the money.

The Social Democrats' two TDs have said they do not believe now is the time for TDs to get pay restoration.

But Solidarity, the party made up of Ruth Coppinger, Paul Murphy and Mick Barry, will take the money because they do not want "to return the increase to Finance Minister Michael Noonan to further facilitate more tax breaks for landlords, developers and big business or to pay back bondholders to meet their private gambling debts".

Instead the funds will be diverted to campaigns such as Repeal the Eighth.

TDs suffered a €5,414 drop in wages, from €92,672 to €87,258, during the recession.

However, a restoration of pay worth €2,707 kicks in this week, with a similar increase also coming next year.

Irish Independent

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