The Finance Minister has not ruled out a paycut for cabinet and TDs, but says that such a measure has not yet been discussed.
Paschal Donohoe was speaking as it was announced that New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinta Ardern and her government would take 20% pay cuts in a bid to show “leadership” and “solidarity” with those who had lost their livelihoods to the Coronavirus pandemic.
The New Zealand government will take the pay cut immediately for six months.
Responding to questions from the Irish Examiner, Mr Donohoe said that while the matter has not yet been considered by the government, it will be considered in the coming weeks.
“In relation to your question about further reduction in reductions in TD salaries. That is not something today which has been considered. It is the case that we got the wage increases in recent years have not applied to holders. But I absolutely understand now, that many people all over the country are facing a very severe income that they're having to deal with. And I'm sure the government will, you know, discuss this and other matters in the coming weeks,” he said.
“Those of us who are members of government for quite a while, have not been participants in the wage increases that have been made available as part of the family legislation for ministers. And so that has been in place for all members of this government now since I came into office. And I haven't today considered whether wages options or merits are needed for TDs or senators. It is the case that a number of TDs and stances are handed back to the state increases in which they will do happen. It's also the case that some others are not doing that,” he said.
Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy (pictured above) said that any pay cut for TDs was complex given that the rate of pay is pegged to that of civil servants, but that any cut should happen across the board.
“I think it has to happen uniformly. I think just doing it individually is not the best approach. If you were doing it, the linking of TDs pay to civil servants would have to be taken into consideration.
“Personally I wouldn’t be averse to (a cut) but it would have to happen universally. But going beyond that, there has to be a reframing of priorities. For example, very large incomes in boardrooms will be reflected on in the current situation with regards to the earnings of frontline workers.”
Sinn Féin TD Matt Carthy said that any move to secure new allowances was “bizarre”.
Speaking on Newstalk FM, he said that TDs were better off than many constituents.
"I find it bizarre that any TDs would be seeking additional allowances at this time.
"TDs, yes, are working from home - but TDs are also on their full salary and allowances at this time, which is something most of our constituents don't have the luxury of saying."
Earlier: Pay cuts for TDs and Senators not being ruled out
Pay cuts for TDs and Senators in light of the coronavirus outbreak are not being ruled out.
However, the Finance Minister's admitted the measure hasn't yet been discussed.
It comes after the Prime Minister of New Zealand and her cabinet took a 20% pay cut for the next six months as an act of solidarity with workers who have been impacted.
Minister Paschal Donohoe said the matter will be discussed in the coming weeks.
"I haven't to date considered whether wage reductions are merited or needed for TDs or Senators," he said.
"It is the case that a number of TDs and Senators are handing back to the State increases they were due, but it is also the case that some are not doing that."