UPDATE: There is now going to be a national protest
in Dublin on November 12th. over this very issue.
During the last general election, one of the biggest failures of Fine Gael, was their poster campaign “Lets keep the recovery going“. A great many people say those words on roadside posters and said to themselves “What recovery?”. The posters they felt was either an insult to their intelligence or that whatever ‘recovery’ there supposedly was – it never came anywhere near them.
Months on, it seems government elected (and others) are yet again treating the citizens of Ireland in the same manner. This time, it’s to do with the money they are being paid or abusing, that is all too readily available to them.
TDs’ current basic pay is €87,258 a year. This rises sharply depending on position in government, office or department held, etc. This amount does not include the additional perks and expenses running to many thousands, which are handed out and fully grabbed by TD’s. We are speaking right down to the likes of ‘walking money’ because TD’s might have to park their car away from the Dail and have the indignity of walking a bit, to their place of work.
Government ministers have alone, cost the taxpayer €27 million in pay and expenses since the formation of the coalition government in 2011. After examination, it can be found through sixteen government Departments and the Office of Public Works, that the average amount paid to each Minister has been around €631,000.
€1.6 million has been paid in mileage on an entirely unvouched basis and without any clear records to back it up. The Fine Gael government have just about two finger saluted the Standards in Public Office Commission in this sole matter telling the SIPO “We will not force Ministers to vouch for mileage” (LINK).
Ministers can just run the hell out of their car including for personal usage and claim it all. SIPO has sought this to be addressed – but Fine Gael and co, ironically (and in further poor standard) has told that department and their request, where to go!
Top of the line is Enda Kenny. He has been paid a staggering €800,000+ (roughly €197,000 per year on average) between the 2011 election and the end of 2015. This includes his TD’s salary, of around €90,000 a year plus his extra bonus pay as Taoiseach, approximately €102,000 a year on top. Mr Kenny is also paid a more money in expenses by the Oireachtas, bringing the total paid to him since the election to over €800,000. Mr Kenny says he is ‘very much’ worth his €185,000 a year salary (LINK).
All are allowed to claim for everything possible – including shoe polish and even make-up – and they do! Bertie Ahern claimed just under €250,000 on make-up over his 11-year term as head of government.
Asked at the launch of the Low Pay Commission in Dublin whether his €185,000 a year salary were value for money, Mr Kenny replied “very much so”.
Mr Kenny’s salary compares with €142,000 for the British prime minister, $400,000 (€356,143) for US president Barack Obama and €179,000 for French president Francois Hollandeand the €200,000 plus earned by German chancellor Angela Merkel.
Nine other senior politicians were gain in excess of €186,666 annually (LINK) for each one. Costs for a further sixteen senior politicians exceeded at least €160,000 annually for each one.
Simply for attending meetings, as part of their work, government elected can get walloped with more cash. For example, previously the then Labour Minister Gerald Nash gained an additional annual allowance of €15,829 per annum since his appointment in July 2014 – simply because because he (and others) attended Cabinet meetings. …Something expected to be done as part of their already hiked up pay, job role.
- It should be noted that Mr Nash in particular was ‘sacked’ as an elected TD for the Louth/Drogheda region. The public didn’t want him. The public’s wish to see him gone didn’t make a blind bit of difference to the Labour party however. They just shoved Mr Nash into the Senate instead, to continue getting paid and further pension-righted. So much for abiding by the people’s democratic wish not to have him represent them!
- It should also be noted that those that lost their Dail seats in the 2016 election were also paid a staggering €40,000 as a ‘leaving payment’. Those that lost their elected TD jobs and then were shifted to the Seanad? The Fine Gael government, Labour and others, is all too quiet about that bonus payment towards those they just shifted from one job to another!
Bereft politicians receive €40,000 windfall over lost seats – LINK
At a time when many citizens are lucky enough to be earning between €18,500 and €21,000 yearly in earnings, the large amounts being earned by their elected, to many, appear very disproportionate – and outright unfair.
The Recent TD Bonus.
Recently Ireland citizens became all too aware of the next cash wallop Dail elected, government ministers were to get. On average between €3,500 and €5,000 is going to be paid to TD’s as a further top-up to their already high wages. This top-up is to happen every year for the next few years. The next raise of €2,700+ for elected, is scheduled for January 2018.
What had further infuriated the national public is that the same elected wouldn’t even original agree to give the elderly at same time, a pension top-up of €5. After being possible shamed into passing that increase along, Ireland elected have ensured elderly won’t get it till at least next March, 2017. Government again, has let down many struggling pensioners who in the intervening coming winter months, will face higher heating costs as they try to stay warm once more!
On the 13th of October, the Fine Gael newsletter (Irish independent) ran a story entitled “Ministers forced to give up €12,000 pay hike” (LINK). That was the big headline for all news-stand, non-paying, passing by people, to see. In actual fact, if anyone actually read the fine detail, they would have learned more accurately:
“Minister Paschal Donohoe is to formally ask Cabinet colleagues in the coming weeks to forego pay restoration….”
More accurately, no law/legislation has been passed to freeze their bump. Paschal Donohoe hadn’t even got around to asking them yet, to even take no increase! Not that that all mattered to the newspaper?
As it turns out now, some ministers are turning down the next bonus payment – having being shamed into it much to their own anger – but they are also conveniently saying nothing about the later additional payments to come in the following years… Meanwhile other previous elected TD, even ones retired, are still to get their bonus annual bump – and they are not forgoing it at all.
On The Bandwagon
Perhaps sensing a golden opportunity to have a late dig at Fine Gael and come off as ‘being with the people’ on the matter, Joan Burton then – hypocritical – started giving out about government staff wages. Was she thinking the public would forget that she and her party members too, was in same previous government positions and taking the exact same money? If so, she might have been hoping the public wouldn’t kop this important aspect?
For the record:
(President) Higgins voluntarily waived €76,493 of the president’s salary, reducing it to €249,014, after his election in 2011. The president also announced he was making a gift to the state of his annual ministerial, Seanad and Dail pensions.
The value of his combined salary and pension donations to the state have exceeded €1m since he became president.
The Times – LINK
The huge gap between the average low paid and when others in state positions are allowed gather quietly, is still becoming further apart. To quote The Times (Oct 23rd, 2016):
A director of the Health Service Executive (HSE) was paid more than €22,000 in expenses last year, an average of €425 a week, on top of his annual salary of more than €140,000. (LINK)
In the same newspaper, on the same day, is the headline:
More charities revealing less, says report. (LINK)
The newspaper reports that now, much less information is being passed on to the public as to the spending activities and financial accoutrements of high paid in Ireland non-profit organisations also. They are now filing abridged financial accounts – instead of the once greater detailed accounts.
Maybe they took inspiration from Dail and Seanad representatives?
Elected TD’s care of Fine Gael and Labour, on the last day of the last 2011 term of government office, quickly rammed though cover-up legislation to further be able hide financial details from the public should they apply to gain them, under the national Freedom of Information Act.
NOTE: We haven’t even got around here, to further commenting on their huge pensions (Bertie Ahern in any one week, gains €2,600 into his pocket) nor the large, crazy amounts of taxpayer money being spent on properties for state officials. An example of that issue can be found HERE.