Saturday 18 November 2017

Revealed: The politicians accepting a €2,700 pay hike... and those who aren't

Kevin Doyle and Kathy Armstrong

Over 90 TDs are set to receive a €2,700 wage increase from this week as restoration to pay cuts imposed during the recession begins under the Lansdowne Road agreement.

While Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe asked TDs to voluntarily sign a waiver gifting the money back to the State, not everyone has taken his advice.

Independent.ie asked every TD whether they will accept the cash, here's what they said:

Taking the increase:

  • Six Fianna Fail TDs said they are going to take the increase but they will either donate it to charity or to benefit their constituency: Pat 'the Cope' Gallagher (Donegal), Eugene Murphy (Roscommon-Galway), Mary Butler (Waterford) and Pat Casey (Wicklow-East Carlow) intend to give their net increase to local charities; Meanwhile Fiona O'Loughlin (Kildare South) and Declan Breathnach (Louth) said they would use it to benefit their constituencies.
  • Fianna Fail's Marc Sharry looks set to take the increase, saying: "In the interest of that age-old concept balance it is important to acknowledge that politicians work in most instances up to seven days per week and up to 16 hours per day with few taking any more than three weeks' summer holidays."
  • Solidarity - which comprises of Ruth Coppinger, Paul Murphy and Mick Barry - said they 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 assist campaigns such as Repeal the Eighth.
  • Similarly, People Before Profit's Richard Boyd Barrett, Gino Kenny and Bríd Smith have promised to use the increase to help specific causes, starting with the striking Bus Eireann workers.
  • The Labour Party and Green Party have said all of their TDs would accept the increase on the basis that it was tied to that of a principle officer in the civil service - a development that brought an end to the Dáil deciding TD pay levels.

Not taking the increase:

  • Just two Fine Gael backbenchers replied, Hildegarde Naughton and Noel Rock both said they've signed the waiver refusing the increase.Dublin North West Deputy Noel Rock explained why he won't take the cash, saying: "Under no circumstances can I credibly accept a pay increase while simultaneously explaining to many others why they have yet to materially feel the recovery in their own lives."
  • Fianna Fail's Thomas Byrne was the only TD from his party to confirm he is gifting the money to the State.
  • All 23 Sinn Féin TDs are finalising the process of gifting the money back to the State.
  • Independents4Change TD Joan Collins said that taking the increase would be "immoral."
  • Social Democrat TDs Catherine Murphy and Roisin Shortall have gifted the money to the State, saying they don't believe this is the right time for them to receive pay restoration.
  • The four Independent Alliance TDs four ministers have said they won't accept the increase.
  • Independent TD Kevin 'Boxer' Moran said: "The country is only getting back on its feet".
  • Disabilities Minister Finian McGrath said: "Ministers should lead by example and the money should be used for the most needy in our country."
  • Other Independent TDs who have said they won't take the increase are Catherine Connolly (Galway West), Michael Fitzmaurice (Roscommon-Galway) and Seamus Healy (Tipperary).
  • Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl has also confirmed that he won't take a pay rise that kicked in on April 1. Mr Ó Fearghaíl was in line for a pay bump of almost €4,000 as part of the wider pay restoration to civil servants. However, Oireachtas authorities have confirmed that, like some ministers, he will waive the salary increase that would have seen him earn €161,451. As a result his pay will remain at €157,540

When we asked the public whether they think TDs should accept this money, the issue proved divisive.

One woman told Independent.ie: "I suppose a lot of people would feel it's very unfair when they haven't been restored, perhaps the TDs should wait until other sectors are restored and should lead by example.

"I would think there are other people who earn less who should earn that restoration first."

Other people took the opposing view that the money is well-deserved.

One man told us: "One explained: "I wouldn't like to be a TD and not get paid for the work I do, if you look at the amount of work they do and the cr*p they put up with you have to pay good money.

"If you pay peanuts you get monkeys."

Online Editors

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