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I'm worth my €3.5k-a-week salary, says Enda Kenny


Taoiseach Enda Kenny

Taoiseach Enda Kenny

Taoiseach Enda Kenny

Taoiseach Enda Kenny believes he is worth every cent of his €3,500 a week wage.

The Fine Gael leader yesterday defended his annual salary of €185,350 at the launch of the Low Pay Commission in Dublin.

Mr Kenny was asked if he believes he is deserving of his lucrative salary.

"Very much so," he said.

He was speaking alongside Tanaiste Joan Burton at the first meeting of the commission, which compromises a panel of nine experts who will advise the Government on what changes should be made to the minimum wage, which is currently set at €8.65 an hour.

The independent panel is due to report back to the Coalition by July 15.

"The Taoiseach is not driven by the size of his salary. He is driven by a determination to lead a Government that secures the recovery," his spokesman said last night.

A government source told the Herald that "nobody believes for a second that Enda Kenny is driven by anything but public service".

The Taoiseach yesterday confirmed that Fine Gael intends to jointly contest the next election with Labour.

Meanwhile, he said he is confident the Government will run its full term and that the general election will not be held until early next year.

"My ambition is to have the next government elected to be a Fine Gael and Labour government," said Mr Kenny.

"The next election will be held in the spring of next year.

"I expect by then the Labour Party will have improved its support, as will the Fine Gael party.

"And my ambition is to have a Fine Gael and Labour government elected and I don't go beyond that in terms of speculation."

In relation to the work of the Low Pay Commission, Mr Kenny said it is "morally unacceptable" that any family, where the head of the household is working, should be classified as "consistently poor".

"Work should pay more than welfare and no household with a person in full-time work should be poor," he said.

"This is not always the case at the moment - we have visible evidence of that. This is morally unacceptable and it's economically unwise."

Earlier this week, business lobby group IBEC expressed concern over the possible implications that any increase to the minimum wage would have on unemployment levels.

But the Taoiseach has said that any adjustments will be made "incrementally over time", and he will ask the Government to look at measures "to mitigate the impact any changes could have on small employers".