Thursday 14 December 2017

€5,000 pay hike for TDs on back of public pay deal

Politicians' pay to be restored to almost pre-financial crash level

DEAL: Paschal Donohoe. Picture: Tom Burke
DEAL: Paschal Donohoe. Picture: Tom Burke
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

TDs are in line for yet another pay boost of around €5,000 on the back of the public sector pay deal signed off by the Government last week.

Official figures supplied by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform show Dail deputies will see their salaries almost entirely restored to pre-financial crash rates over the next three years.

TDs came under fire from the public after the last budget when it emerged their pay was to increase by €2,700 in April. Now they will now get approximately €5,000 on top of this which would restore 98pc of the salary cuts they received throughout the recession.

A number of TDs and political parties signed waiver forms in April to gift the first pay increase back to the State. Fianna Fail and Fine Gael did not instruct their TDs to return the money to the Exchequer. TDs will also make pension contributions over the next three years of around €6,552 under the Lansdowne Road Agreement.

The department's figures show some of the country's most senior public sector workers, who are paid more than €185,000 a year, stand to see their pay increase by around €11,000 by 2020. This includes government department secretary generals, senior HSE officials and high-ranking members of An Garda Siochana. Higher earning public sector workers will not see their pay fully restored to pre-crash levels under the current pay deal.

Some lower-paid public sector workers will earn more than they did before the economy collapsed under the deal negotiated by Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe.

"You will see that those on the lower end of the scale stand to benefit beyond where their salaries stood before cuts were implemented," a senior government source said.

"Conversely, those at the higher end will still not have recouped the totality of what was deducted from them," the source added.

The public sector pay deal will cost €887m over the next three years and will result in an average 6pc pay increase for workers. The pension levy introduced at the height of the financial crisis will be replaced by a permanent contribution to public sector pensions.

Controversial additional working hours introduced under the previous pay deal are to remain under the new agreement despite initial resistance from unions. The deal has not been agreed by public sector unions which will begin balloting members on the terms set out in the agreement in the coming weeks and months.

Teaching unions have criticised the deal for not addressing the pay gap between old and new entrants into the public sector.

Yesterday, Fianna Fail's education spokesman Thomas Byrne said the equalisation of pay for new teachers needed to be addressed "sooner rather than later".

Sunday Independent

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