Michael McGrath denies Fianna Fáil's 2017 pay increase opposition

Michael McGrath denies Fianna Fáil's 2017 pay increase opposition
The Fianna Fáil Minister denied his party's previous opposition in 2017. Picture: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Minister Michael McGrath has denied any knowledge of Fianna Fáil trying to stop a pay increase for super junior ministers in 2017.

That is despite statements on the Fianna Fáil website from the time saying the party would block any attempt at a salary top-up for then-Minister Mary Mitchell O'Connor.

This week the party approved such a top up for its own government, meaning all three super junior ministers will get a €16,000 pay rise.

But when pressed on it Public Expenditure Minister Michael McGrath said he does not remember Fianna Fáil trying to block the same move by Fine Gael a few years ago.

Mr McGrath said: "That issue was certainly never raised with me. To be straight you are referring to a background I am certainly not familiar with. 

"It was certainly not discussed and to the best of my knowledge there was no proposal ever put before the Oireachtas

"We're in a situation now where three Ministers of State attending Cabinet, two can currently get the allowance, I personally think it is fair that the three are treated equally."

The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform was speaking as the government gave a briefing on tax proposals in the July stimulus package. 

Finance minister Paschal Donohoe said the government's July stimulus package was worth €1,000 for every Irish citizen and is a "timely" plan to help rescue sectors. 

It included a surprise cut to the Vat rate from 23% to 21%, designed to motivate spend and boost business.

Outlining elements of the €5bn spending plan, he also said the deal would help farmers, house buyers and consumers, as well as businesses.

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