Sinn Féin calls for block on TD pay increases

The party said TD salary increase proposals are "unwarranted and unjustified"

Sinn Féin calls for block on TD pay increases

Mary Lou McDonald speaking to the media | Image:

Sinn Féin has tabled a motion in the Dáil calling for a stoppage on pay rises for all politicians.

The party called plans to give TDs pay restoration of more than €5,000 over the next two years "unwarranted and outrageous".

Plans announced as part of Budget 2017 also included salary hikes amounting to €12,000 over three years for government Ministers.

While ministers have already voted unanimously to forego the pay hike for 2017, regular TD's have not made the same commitment.

Politician’s pay is tied to that of public sector workers and the increases were tabled as part of the Haddington Road agreement for public servants.

Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald told the Dáil this afternoon the government must now legislate to stop “unjust pay increases for political representatives.”  

“The proposed increases of more than €5,000 would bring a TDs salary to over €92,000,” she said.

“That is unacceptable, in particular at a time when Leo Varadkar, as the Minister for Social Protection, is telling pensioners that they are worth an extra fiver per week and young people who are out of work are worth even less than that, a mere €2.70 per week.

“The issue is one of fairness. That is what is driving pay disputes among Gardaí, nurses and teachers.

She said the Sinn Féin motion will stop unfair payments to “Deputies, Senators, the Taoiseach, the Tánaiste and Ministers.

“This is not because we do not believe that people should be fairly paid, but as a result of the fact that it is unfair that someone who is on €30,000 or €40,000 per year – an average wage in the public sector – gets pay restoration of €1,000 while TDs can expect to be paid €92,000.”

Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar said TDs have had no pay increase since 2008.

He said any move to break the link between politician's salaries and those of public sector workers would see a move towards a situation where politicians decide their own rates of pay:

Sinn Féin will try to block the increases by forcing a Dáil vote in three weeks time.

The party’s public expenditure spokesperson, David Cullinane says there's no justification for the extra money and confirmed that all of the party’s 23 TDs will turn down the rise should the motion be defeated.

“We hope that all parties will support this motion, and we can start to focus on the outstanding issues in the public sector and acknowledge that pay restoration for TDs is not, and should not be treated as, a top priority," said Mr Cullinane.