Monday 21 October 2019

Independent urges TDs to reject pay increases

John Halligan
John Halligan

Niall O'Connor and Philip Ryan

A member of the Dáil's Technical Group has called on all political parties to reject the introduction of pay increases for ministers and TDs.

Waterford TD John Halligan said politicians would "not be forgiven" if they accepted pay increases from the upcoming public sector pay talks.

Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin this week confirmed politicians will benefit from hikes as he begins the process of reversing public sector pay cuts imposed during the recession.

Mr Howlin is due to seek a mandate from Cabinet tomorrow to kick start negotiations with trade unions, which is expected to last several months.

Government sources have confirmed 2-3pc pay hikes represent a fair estimate. But they stressed the negotiation period had not yet begun.

In an interview with the Irish Independent, Mr Howlin confirmed politicians would also benefit from the hikes.

"Ministers, politicians, or anybody else - I've always said that we are not going to segregate out people," he said.

Fianna Fáil's Public Expenditure spokesman Sean Fleming said there must be no "special treatment" from members of the Oireachtas.

"If politicians are to receive pay increases, it should be exactly the same as other civil servants.

But Mr Halligan went a step further, saying pay hikes for politicians would represent an "outrageous decision" by the Coalition.

The first-time TD said that, privately, many deputies would happily accept a pay hike.

But he said it would further erode the trust between the public and politicians.

"I am calling on all sides to agree to the joint stance that we would be excluded from any form of pay hikes," he said.

"What would that say to the Dunnes Stores workers who are going through an awful time or the families whose children are currently in sub-standard classrooms?

"It would send out an awful message," he added.

Irish Independent

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