Cabinet agrees €20k pay rises for judges

Dozens of judges appointed since 2012 are set to receive near €20,000 pay rises over the coming years under new staggered salary hikes plans.

Cabinet agreed the deal yesterday in a move that means judges appointed since the end of the recession under old pay scales are now set to see their incomes surge to pre-crash levels.

As part of the 2013 Haddington Road deal with unions, more than 100 different public servant groups including gardaí, nurses and teachers were given the opportunity to have their pay “equalised” through a “merged scales” system.

The situation meant that new recruits could achieve pay parity with colleagues employed before 2012 through a step-by-step process of “incremental progression”.

While gardaí, nurses, and teachers were able to avail of the measure, dozens of new judges appointed over the past five years did not due to overarching rules in place at the time. However, in light of Ireland’s economic growth, Government has decided that from next year these judges will be given the same rights as lower paid public servants — meaning they will be entitled to significant incremental pay hikes near €20,000 to bring their income in line with pre-2013 rates.

The decision is designed to ensure there is no disparity between judges in the system and judges recruited today will still have to build up their pay from “the bottom of the scale”.

However, the situation is likely to lead to significant criticism from sections of the public which are still struggling with the recession due to the lucrative sums judges made pre-2013 and the comparison with the mere 10c minimum wage increase suggested by the Low Pay Commission yesterday.

A 2010 European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice survey found newly appointed judges in Ireland were among the highest paid in Europe, earning three times the average of 46 countries examined at the time.

During the period district judges earned €136,124 and supreme court judges €219,191, rates which were reduced despite a judicial fightback by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to €122,512 for a district judge and €197,272 for a supreme court judge in 2013.

Meanwhile, yesterday’s cabinet meeting also heard Taoiseach Enda Kenny announce plans for a new group to tackle ongoing difficulties in Dublin’s north inner city today in a bid to address the root causes linked to a murderous gang feud in the area.

The Fine Gael leader will attend the launch of the Government-backed organisation in the area.


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