Tuesday 12 December 2017

FF and SF at loggerheads over TD pay restoration

Leo Varadkar. Photo: Arthur Carron
Leo Varadkar. Photo: Arthur Carron

Niall O'Connor and Kevin Doyle

Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin are at loggerheads over TDs' pay.

Sinn Féin's public expenditure spokesperson David Cullinane yesterday launched a motion calling for all pay restoration for TDs to be blocked.

He said Sinn Féin TDs will waive any increase they are due to receive when they come into force in April.

But last night, Fianna Fáil's Housing spokesperson Barry Cowen said he will propose an amendment to the motion in a bid to force the party to reimburse the State by all amounts received above the average industrial wage.

The party says its policy is for its TDs to draw down the full Dáil salary of €87,500 but to take home the average industrial wage.

The remainder, Sinn Féin says, is used for constituency purposes.

Mr Cowen hit out at Sinn Féin, claiming they are not being totally honest in their crusade to cut wages.

"I'm going propose an amendment to their motion looking for Sinn Féin to reimburse the State with any monies over the average industrial wage since that is what they say they take.

"I'm going to bring that suggestion to my parliamentary party and I hope they back it," he told the Irish Independent.

The row comes as Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar and Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald squared off in the Dáil over TDs' pay.

Ms McDonald said there is no "public tolerance" for pay increases at a time when the pension was increased by €5 and the dole to under 25s increased by €2.70.

The Dublin Central TD said the public are sick of what she described as the "political brass neck" being displayed by Government.

Mr Varadkar hit back and insisted that ministers will forego all pay restoration. He added that the Government believes strongly that TDs' pay should remain linked to the principal officer's grade in the civil service.

"We don't want to go back to what you want to do which is politicians deciding what they are paid," the Dublin West TD said.

Mr Varadkar raised Sinn Féin's record in the North. And he called on the party to spell out what it does with the money paid to its TDs given its policy is for them to take the average industrial wage.

Irish Independent

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