TD’s New Year pay rise is ‘entirely inappropriate’

By Aura McMenamin

TDs are in for a €3,600 salary rise in the New Year, however some local TDs have opted not to accept it.

The salary rise is in line with pay restorations for public servants, which were cut under the Landsdowne Road Agreement.

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Under the agreement and its extension, the Public Service Stability Agreement, public servants are now entitled to having these cuts restored, with TDs’ salary going back to its pre-recession level of €92,672 per annum by 2020.

The current basic salary for a TD is  €89,965.

In April, TDs were given a pay rise of €2,700.

The first pay rise in 2018 of €2,707 is due under the Lansdowne Road Agreement. A second, one per cent rise will come into effect in October.

Minister Paschal Donohoe asked TDs to voluntarily sign a waiver gifting the money back to the State, with most political parties opting to allow TDs to personally decide whether to take the cash or not.

The Echo made contact with local TDSs to ask if they would be taking a pay rise.

Sinn Fein TD for Dublin South West (DSW) Sean Crowe said he felt the pay rise was ‘entirely inappropriate’ and said he would not accept the taxpayers’ money.

He said: “Sinn Fein took a position on this - we feel that it is inappropriate for us to take it, while the cost of living always rises for people

“We have a huge amount of people on low incomes in Ireland...We are totally opposed to these pay rises.”

Writing on Facebook, Sinn Fein TD for Dublin Mid-West (DMW) Eoin O’Broin said: “TDs don't need or deserve a pay rise. We are already paid more than enough.

“I won't be accepting the €3,000 increase in 2018. Instead I will be returning it to the exchequer.”

Sinn Fein TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh, who is based in Ballyfermot and represents Dublin South Central, did not reply.

Fine Gael TD for DSW Colm Brophy said he accepted to take the salary increase. He explained: “When they cut the pay for public service workers, they were right to. And now, they’re right to restore the pay.

“I would like to see full pay restored for all public service workers and that’s why I support the Landsdowne Road Agreement.”

Fianna Fáil TD for DSW John Lahart said he would be taking the pay increase, saying: “It was decided by an independent pay commission. At times in career, I have refused certain expenses such as the mileage expense during my first year as a TD.”

He added, “People make their own judgments on what expenses to take.”

Meanwhile, in line with other government ministers, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone, from Tallaght, confirmed she would not be accepting the pay rise.

As a cabinet minister, Ms Zappone receives a basic salary of €89,965 with a €71,486 additional salaried allowance.

She said: “With regard to the pay and wages issue, my focus is on supporting ways to increase the pay and conditions of those who work in the childcare sector who are predominantly women.”

Solidarity TD Paul Murphy said that his party was ‘completely against’ the pay rises and he would only accept the average industrial wage.

He said: “TDs are already overpaid and should only be the average workers' wage. I will not personally benefit and will continue to receive an average young workers' wage.

“Instead, any additional money will be donated to national campaigns such as the fight for abortion rights and different local community causes.”

People Before Profit TD for DMW Gino Kenny said that the party would have to discuss the matter in the New Year, but said that he only personally accepted the national industrial wage.

He said: “We only accept the full industrial wage, and anything else goes to the constituency office.

“With the last payment, we accepted it but it went into the constituency office and to fund campaigns that the party is involved with, such as the Bus Eireann workers strike.”

The Echo contacted Fine Gael TD for DMW Frances Fitzgerald, Ballyfermot-based TD Brid Smith (PBP) and TD John Curran from DMW for comment.

 

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