Ministers forced to give up pay hike
■ Public outcry leads to waiving of €12,000 rise
Government ministers have been forced to waive a €12,000 pay hike following a huge public uproar over Budget 2017.
Ministers' salaries are to be frozen at €157,000 with no increases next year, the Irish Independent can reveal. Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe is to formally ask Cabinet colleagues in the coming weeks to forego their pay restoration.
The climbdown follows days of disquiet after the Irish Independent revealed how ministers were due a pay rise of almost €12,000 over the next three years.
Throughout yesterday, ministers declined to rule out accepting the money, repeatedly pointing out their pay is linked to that of senior civil servants. But sources have now confirmed Mr Donohoe will raise the issue with the Cabinet "imminently".
The Irish Independent has also learned ministers in the previous government agreed to waive the pay rises. But the commitment was not reaffirmed after the General Election, despite nine ministers, including Taoiseach Enda Kenny, remaining at the Cabinet table.
As the fallout from Budget 2017 continued, it also emerged that Fianna Fáil will demand a series of changes to the controversial first-time buyers' grant.
The party, whose support is needed for the Budget to pass, wants a cost-benefit analysis of the scheme to be carried out and believes the €600,000 threshold is "fairy-tale stuff". Fianna Fáil housing spokesperson Barry Cowen said: "This is an initiative that can't work."
Mr Cowen is concerned the tax rebate worth up to €20,000 will fuel property price rises and do little to address supply.
The lack of clarity on a start date for €5 welfare and pension increases also sparked a row in the Dáil.
It remains unclear when in March the increase will kick in.