Out-of-touch TDs slow to vol­un­teer for pay-cut

SPE­CIAL IN­VES­TI­GA­TION TAOISEACH’S PLEAS FALL ON DEAF EARS

Bray People - - News - Es­ther HAY­DEN

NOT ONE Wick­low TD has vol­un­tar­ily taken a pay-cut de­spite ask­ing us to tighten our belts.

In a spe­cial in­ves­ti­ga­tion the Star on Sun­day con­tacted all 127 back­bench TDs and found that just 11 of them have vol­un­teered to take the ‘pa­tri­otic’ ten per cent pay cut.

As part of the Oc­to­ber bud­get Fi­nance Min­ster Brian Leni­han an­nounced that all cab­i­net min­is­ters, ju­nior min­is­ters and sec­re­tary gen­er­als of each Gov­ern­ment depart­ment would ‘ sur­ren­der’ ten per cent of their cur­rent to­tal pay in recog­ni­tion of the eco­nomic down­turn.

He called on all other politi­cians to fol­low suit say­ing ‘other pub­lic ser­vants in lead­er­ship and se­nior po­si­tions may wish to con­sider whether it is ap­pro­pri­ate for them to make a sim­i­lar move in cur­rent cir­cum­stances’. How­ever, just 11 of the re­main­ing 127 politi­cians signed up for the pay-cut.

Nei­ther the Gov­ern­ment nor op­po­si­tion TDs ap­pear to have been moved by Taoiseach Brian Cowen’s pleas for a vol­un­tary pay cut nor do they seem keen to take the 10 to 12 per cent drop in liv­ing stan­dards he spoke about last week.

De­spite a ba­sic salary of over €100,000, the out-of-touch TDs said they had no in­ten­tion of tak­ing a vol­un­tary pay cut. Most of them said they hadn’t taken the cut be­cause of the new pen­sion levy changes. How­ever, the levy was only an­nounced last week al­most four months af­ter the call for a vol­un­tary pay cut.

The pub­lic sec­tor pen­sion levy will see TDs pay cut by up to 8.8 per cent but will also hit about 350,000 pub­lic ser­vants, very few of whom make a ba­sic wage in ex­cess of €100,000.

TDs also sup­ple­ment their ba­sic wage with tax-free ex­penses and pay­ments for com­mit­tee work push­ing many of them over €200,000 per year.

In Wick­low, just Ju­nior Min­is­ter Dick Roche took a pay-cut of 10 per cent but this was foisted on him af­ter the bud­get rather than any al­tru­is­tic ges­ture on his be­half. With a salary of €139,266 the Fianna Fail min­is­ter took the cut along with all Cab­i­net mem­bers and ju­nior min­is­ters last Oc­to­ber.

In­de­pen­dent TD Joe Be­han claims a ba­sic salary of €100,190 cou­pled with ex­penses of €34,654 and a sec­re­tary’s al­lowance of €40,090 bring­ing him to a to­tal gross salary of €174,932. He didn’t take a pay cut and didn’t re­spond to the Star on Sun­day.

Labour’s Liz McManus stuck to the party line and didn’t take a pay cut.

No Labour TD has of­fered to take a cut and a spokesper­son for the party said that they would not be do­ing so un­less it was im­ple­mented by the Gov- ern­ment. Deputy McManus earned €182,054 last year which in­cluded a ba­sic salary of €106,581, ex­penses of €35,383 and a sec­re­tary’s al­lowance of €40,090. When con­tacted she said ‘I would be pre­pared to take a greater cut from my salary if it meant low­est paid pub­lic ser­vice work­ers did not have to pay the pen­sion levy’.

FG’s An­drew Doyle and Billy Tim­mins didn’t feel the need to fol­low leader Enda Kenny’s ex­am­ple (he took a cut as ‘a per­sonal ges­ture’). Deputy Doyle earned €198,366 which in­cluded a ba­sic salary of €100,190, ex­penses of €58,086 and a sec­re­tary’s al­lowance of €40,090. He said he had not taken a cut be­cause ‘we’re tak­ing the pub­lic ser­vice levy like every­one else and we’re tak­ing a 1 per cent levy on wages. What­ever the state de­cides to pay me I’ll be happy to take it’.

Wick­low’s big­gest po­lit­i­cal earner is Billy Tim­mins who earned more than €200,000 last year. His ba­sic salary of €106,581 is aug­mented by ex­penses of €57,919 and a sec­re­tary’s al­lowance of €40,090 bring­ing him to a to­tal salary of €204,590.

Like party col­league An­drew Doyle he didn’t take a pay-cut and when con­tacted said ‘we are go­ing to be sub­ject to the pen­sion levy and that is the equiv­a­lent of a wage cut’.

No cuts for Labour’s Liz McManus and In­de­pen­dent TD Joe Be­han.

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