Three super junior ministers will get a pay rise of over €16,000
FIANNA Fáil’s youth wing has been accused of having a “brass neck” for criticising the €16,288 pay hike for super junior ministers.
The claim from Sinn Féin comes as Fine Gael minister Simon Harris admitted the pay boost has “stuck in the craw” of many people.
The government has sustained heavy criticism for the decision. Mr Harris insisted the decision was taken to ensure “consistency” in ministerial pay. The government last week voted for legislation allowing all three super junior ministers - Fianna Fáil’s Jack Chambers, Fine Gael’s Hildegarde Naughton and the Green Party’s Pippa Hackett - to get the additional allowance.
Mr Chambers and Ms Naughton are to be paid around €140,000 under the arrangement while Ms Hackett will be paid less as she is a senator whose basic salary rate is lower than a TD’s.
In recent days Ógra Fianna Fáil president Tom Cahill said the top-up for a third minister was “unwarranted” and suggested the allowance that had been in place for two super juniors could have been spread across all three.
Fine Gael Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe told Newstalk that he understood people’s anger but the decision was made so that ministers doing “the same work were paid the same”.
Ógra Fianna Fáil highlighted Mr Donohoe’s remarks in online posts and contrasted them with the situation where new entrant teachers are on lower pay scales than colleagues that began their careers prior to the last recession. The organisation posted an “artists impression” of teachers raising the issue with Mr Donohoe in a fictitious WhatsApp group.
Sinn Féin TD Donnchadh Ó Loaghaire highlighted the Ógra Fianna Fáil posts and claiming it showed “incredible brass neck” and was “pretty galling for lower paid teachers”.
He suggested that Ógra Fianna Fáil should instead “pick up the phone” to the Fianna Fáil Public Expenditure Minister Michael McGrath.
Ógra president Mr Cahill denied it was a swipe at Fianna Fáil’s coalition partners Fine Gael and that rather it was “a play on his [Mr Donohoe’s] comments”.
He said Ógra has raised the issue of the pay boost for ministers with Mr McGrath.
Mr Cahill - a new teacher himself - said many of Ógra Fianna Fáil’s members were new entrant teachers and nurses who are on lower salary scales and pay equality is an issue that affects them.