Opposition parties call on Government TDs to reject €2,000-a-year pay increase

Opposition parties call on Government TDs to reject €2,000-a-year pay increase

Catherine Murphy said waiving the pay increase would 'show some degree of solidarity' with those who have lost their jobs. Picture: Gareth Chaney/Collins

TDs should reject their €2,000-a-year pay rise in solidarity with those affected by job losses and wage cuts, Opposition politicians have said.

Deputies will be entitled to the pay rise from next week, but much of the Opposition has said that it will waive the increase and return the money to the Exchequer.

Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy told the Irish Examiner that her party's six TDs would all be rejecting the pay increase in recognition of the economic climate, but said that a broader move was needed.

"It's not an issue for us — of course we'll reject it," she said.

"But I think there's something broader needed from politicians and parties, given the circumstances that many people find themselves in.

"It would be better if everyone agreed to waive it at a time when so many people are in such a difficult position.

"It could be a very important gesture. It's important to show some degree of solidarity."

Pay bump

Sinn Féin's TDs will all waive the pay rise, which will put TDs on over €98,000 a year, just shy of the Celtic Tiger peak wage of just over €100,000 a year.

Solidarity-PBP said it would be "unthinkable" to go ahead with the pay increase for TDs at a time when thousands are struggling financially and are out of work due to the pandemic.

"The Government shouldn't go ahead with it," said a spokesperson for the grouping. "It would be unthinkable for it to go ahead considering what is going on. The Government must not allow it to happen."

Áontú TD Peadar Tóibín said that he had not yet made a decision on the payment.

Sources have indicated that for the three Government parties, the decision on whether to accept the pay rise will be left to individual TDs, with decisions expected over the coming days.

Speaking in the Dáil, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said that TDs' pay was "linked to the principal officer grade, and has been for over 20 years", pointing out that the increase is part of the 2017 Public Service Stability Agreement, under which over 340,000 public sector staff will be entitled to a pay bump.

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