Labour chief whip Emmet Stagg spoke as he defended Fine Gael colleague Brian Hayes who insisted junior ministers with salaries of €121,000 a year are not on “super, super pay”.
Mr Stagg, who receives a TD’s salary of €87,258 plus an allowance of €10,000 for his role as chief whip, said his pay had reduced by 60% due to cutbacks since 2009.
The comments came after Mr Hayes said ministerial pay was not out of line with the austerity agenda being imposed by the Coalition on the rest of society.
Mr Hayes, who as a minister of state at the finance department earns €121,639, said people in his ministerial position only receive €250 a week more in take-home salary than other TDs.
Despite cutbacks in wages since the financial crisis engulfed the country, politicians are still well paid compared with their British counterparts. On a salary of €185,300, Taoiseach Enda Kenny earns much more than British prime minister David Cameron, who gets the equivalent of €168,908.
At €157,540 a year, Irish ministers are on a par with British counterparts on €159,481, while junior ministers earn more than €4,000 more a year here than their equivalents in London.
TDs with a basic wage of €87,258 earn more than 10% more than Westminster MPs (about €78,690).