Politicans asked to defend their latest salary increase
EVERY TD in the country is this week claiming an annual salary in excess of ¤100,000 as a 2.5 per cent increase that was agreed under the National Partnership Agreement kicks in.
A backbench or opposition TD now earns ¤101,191; a Junior Minister such as Dick Roche earns ¤154,740; a full Minister earns ¤225,196; Tánaiste Mary Coughlan is now earning ¤ 245,325; and Taoiseach Brian Cowen is on a salary of ¤285,583.
And in most cases, the basic salary of a TD is sweetened by extra allowances earned through membership of the numerous parliamentary committees that are now in operation, and bonuses they are entitled to after first seven and then ten years of service, not to mention the generous expenses allowances they are entitled to throughout the year.
The rise comes as talks on a new pay deal for ordinary workers throughout the country have stalled, and as thousands more are either joining the dole queue or else in fear for the future security of their employment.
We this week asked County Wicklow five TDs two straightforward questions. The first was, ‘Given the current economic climate, would you be willing to forego the raise?’, while the second was, ‘Since the last election, what have you done to justify your salary?’