On the morning he was elected Taoiseach, Mr Kenny was paid a basic TD’s salary of about €93k (not to mention tax free unverified expenses), but by the end of that same day his basic salary had increased to €200k (and the expenses increased proportionately too).
Mr Walsh seeks to imply that because Mr Cowen paid himself €220,000 and that Mr Kenny pays himself €200,000 that means Mr Kenny took a pay cut of 10%.
The reality is that on Mar 2011, Mr Kenny’s basic salary more than doubled from €93,000 to €200,000, and by anyone’s understanding of maths that does not mean a pay cut.
He also uses the word ‘entitled’ to justify the pension paid to Nora Owen, while asking if the pensions paid to people like Noel Dempsey or Dermot Ahern can be justified.
The simple answer is that none of them can be justified and the use of the word ‘entitled’ is offensive, given the sacrifices other people have had no choice but to make, due to the failures of the politicians from all parties. I don’t see any former politicians making any sacrifices.
There is no justification for any person who held public office, or was a senior public sector employee, being paid a pension before the age of 65, unless they are retired on medical grounds, and none of them should be allowed to retire and then start earning income without consequences, such as their public pension being reduced by the same amount of new income they earn.
No one is stopping Michael Noonan lessening the burden these people place on the taxpayer.
At the stroke of a pen he can ask Revenue to re-class the pensions of all these former office holders and he can then apply whatever tax rate he wants (even 100%) on them. But what are the chances of that being done? Zero.
Mr Kenny was elected to office on the promise that he would reform, reform and reform deeper, but instead he has blocked, watered down or baulked at even the most timid reforms and still the gravy train rumbles on. It hasn’t even reduced its speed.