Bruton confirms proposed ministerial pay rise will be scrapped

Ministers had been due to get a €12,000 boost

Bruton confirms proposed ministerial pay rise will be scrapped

Public Expenditure Minister Pascal Donohoe with Finance Minister Michael Noonan at Government Buildings | Image: RollingNews.ie

It seems that Government ministers will not be getting a pay rise out of the budget after all.

They had been due to get a €12,000 boost over the next three years, as part of a pay restoration deal.

Following a public outcry however, Public Expenditure Minister Pascal Donohoe has asked them to waive the rise - meaning Ministers' pay will be frozen at €157,000 with no increases next year.

The proposed increases were a reversal of cuts imposed on all public servants, including politicians, as part of a series of national pay deals under the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (FEMPI) legislation introduced following the 2008 crash.

In the Dáil today, Education Minister Richard Bruton said: “the government will confirm next week that ministers will not be taking the proposed pay rise.”

“Clearly we have a situation where we are producing a budget that is seeking to address the needs of this country in a balanced way,” he said.

The agreement is not legally binding however and won’t apply to non-ministerial TDs who will see a pay rise of €2,700 within six months.

It is as yet unclear whether all TDs and Senators will refuse the rise and Sinn Fein’s Mary Lou McDonald called for the pay hikes to be cancelled permanently.

“I asked you and I put it to you again that you must put a stop, a definitive stop to all of these proposed pay increases,” she said.

She said that if the Government did not put a "definite stop" to the increases, her party “will act to ensure the increases are stopped by way of an amendment, whether it be to the Finance Bill or enabling legislation.”

Minister Bruton accused Sinn Féin of “crocodile tears” reminding Deputy McDonald that she had opposed the politician pay cuts when they were originally introduced:

Communications Minister Denis Naughten conceded that the pay rise is now unlikely to happen however he called for a wider debate on the issue:

Health Minister Simon Harris refusing the €4,000 pay rise is “sensible” adding that it is important that the setting of TD pay rates is kept away from politicians.

“We have a situation where our TDs pay has been linked to civil service pay,” he said.

“That means we haven’t had a situation in this jurisdiction, that they have had in other jurisdictions, where politicians set their own pay,” he said.

In-depth: Budget 2017

On Tuesday, Ministers Donohoe and Michael Noonan outlined spending increases and tax cuts of €1.3bn.

In his speech, Mr Noonan said the economy will see GDP growth of 4.2% in 2016 - and 3.5% in 2017.

Among some of the main initiatives announced were a new 'help to buy' scheme which will see first time buyers entitled to a 5% grant on newly-built homes, a cut in USC for all workers, and plans for almost 4,500 additional frontline staff to be recruitment.

There will be a 7.4% increase in health spending - to a total of €14.6bn for next year.

And €319m is to go towards spending on local and regional roads, while €15m will be used to progress the National Broadband Plan.