Tuesday, November 06, 2007


I thought it was only me banging on about the unconscionable pay rise paid to the State's top brass, who have now established themselves as fully-fledged members of the new 'landed classes'.

But it's what we call in the newspaper game as a story with legs. It just won't go away. Two Ministers came out and sounded windy about it at the weekend. And yesterday Bertie Ahern tried to put paid to the dispute with an amazing display of verbal gymnastics - it was all "smokes and daggers" he declared in a classic Bertieism.

But there's been a dishonesty to the way the Government has responded to the criticism. They say it's the first award in seven years. It isn't. An interim award worth7.5& was made two years ago. So the c 15% that Ahern and Cowen and all got was on top of 7.5% they got two years ago.

And the utterly misleading impression was given too that it was the first pay rise they have got in seven years. TDs and Ministers have got EVERY pay rise that's been going, all the national pay awards, benchmarking the lot.

Richard Bruton pointed out yesterday that Bertie Ahern's income has risen by 50% in the past four years (and as a point of fact, it has risen 133% since he came into office). And don't get me started on pensions. The pension bill for the public service is going to screw all other taxpayers by the middle of this century.

I was on Matt Cooper's The Last Word on Today FM with Richard Bruton of Fine Gael. Matt pressed Richard to say what an appropriate salary level for the Taoiseach should be. He refused to go there. But I'll posit a figure - €200,000 would be extremely generous and relatively non controversial.

And that figure should also apply to top civil servants, judiciary, the gardai and the lot. What's happened to the notion of public service? It's all about money nowadays. Greed is poisoning our society.


barry said...

Where do you get the justification for €200k? for a TD. How does that compare to a) the average industrial wage b) the minimum wage, given that TDs always say they work all sorts of hours or c) some sort of average for 'public' employees like nurses, firemen, etc.

Don't forget they also get paid for going to work, have an allowance for their 'office' and get free post.....

The body who gave them the rise relates them to business people. We all know they pay themselves - nobody decides apart form themselves and in addition they have tax advantages, pension breaks and various freebies. The only thing they have to do which TDs don't is actually deliver a product or service.

Bye, Barry

Harry McGee said...

Sorry Barry,

I probably did not make myself as clear as I should have. The €200,000 to which I was referring was the salary of the Taoiseach, encompassing both the TD and Ministerial portions of his salary.


Bock the Robber said...

Fear not, Harry: you aren't alone.

The entire Irish blogosphere has been banging on about the cynicism at the heart of government in this land.