Taoiseach and ministers to take 10% pay cut

Taoiseach and ministers to take 10% pay cut
Taoiseach Micheal Martin leaving the Cabinet Meeting in Dublin Castle this afternoon. Picture: Stephen Collins /Collins Photos Dublin

The Taoiseach, Cabinet ministers and junior ministers have all taken a 10% pay cut, backdated to when they took up office.

Speaking at Dublin Castle at the conclusion of Cabinet, the cut will apply from the Taoiseach down to the Ministers of State, Mr Martin said.

The cut was approved by ministers after Public Expenditure Minister, Michael McGrath, tabled a memo.

The announcement comes in the context of the ongoing controversy over the decision to grant a €16,000 top-up allowance to a 'super junior' minister, which was approved by the Dáil last week.

Mr Martin conceded that the issue of super juniors' pay could have been “handled better collectively by the Government, I would acknowledge that".

“In relation to the super junior ministers of state at cabinet, the idea there was that two were already in receipt of a particular rate and the third wasn't. So, that's an anomaly that has been going on for some time. I think there was, it was about should be regularised. That said, I think it could have been handled better collectively by the government and I acknowledge that,” he said.

“The Government today has taken a decision, which was in process, to give back 10% of its salaries to the State as and from the commencement of Government,” Mr Martin said.

So that is a 10% cut in the rate of pay from Taoiseach right down to the entire Government and Ministers of State as well. That has been formalised today by the Cabinet.

The Irish Examiner has also confirmed that ministers have agreed to forego a planned 2% pay increase which would have been due in October under the public pay agreement.

TDs from within the government parties and from the Opposition were deeply critical of the handling of the top-up with many TDs saying it was “going down like a lead balloon” with grassroot members.

Fianna Fáil TD, Willie O’Dea, said his constituents were “incensed” about the decision and admitted it was “a bad signal” for the new Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Green Party Government to send out.

His party colleague, Michael Moynihan, told The Irish Times that “stupid mistakes” are presenting a credibility issue for a Government still in its infancy.

A senior figure in Fianna Fáil also said they are “embarrassed” to have voted in favour of the move to increase the pay of so-called super juniors and said it “displayed political insensitivity and stupidity”.

The Government also approved plans to conduct a major review of the “fragmented” childcare sector. This review will clear the way for the introduction of a new childcare agency. Plans for the review were brought to Cabinet on Monday by Minister for Children, Roderic O’Gorman.

It is envisaged that an inter-departmental group will be set up to explore the current level of oversight of the sector, which many say is choked with red tape on funding, planning, inspection and other regulatory issues.

The memo is seen as the first step by the Government in an effort to streamline and improve what a source described as the “fragmented” model of childcare supervision and regulation.

 

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