Government take a 10% cut

An Taoiseach Micheál Martin has announced an across the board pay cut of 10% for the top political representatives. The Taoiseach said the reduction will apply to all Ministers from himself down to the Ministers of State.

It will be backdated to the formation of the new Government at the end of June.

It follows public outcry at the decision to increase the pay of Ministers of State attending Cabinet meetings by €16,000. The Government came in for criticism over a change to legislation ensuring the three Ministers of State who sit at Cabinet receive a €16,288 supplement to their pay.

Passed by a majority in the Dáil last week, it saw the total pay for Fianna Fáil Government chief whip Jack Chambers and Fine Gael Minister of State for Climate Change and Transport, Hildegarde Naughton, climb to €140,000; while Green Party Minister of State for Agriculture Pippa Hackett's pay packet hit €123,186.

The Taoiseach this evening acknowledged that the Government could have handled the situation better.

He said: "The idea was that two were already in receipt of a particular rate, and the third wasn't.

"That said, I think it could have been handled better collectively by the Government - I acknowledge that."

Speaking on the decision to hike up the Junior Minister salaries, Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris said the change was an “effort to fix an anomaly, an anomaly that Fine Gael wasn’t in a position to fix before where you had a female member of the Cabinet, a ‘super-junior Minister’ at Cabinet being paid less than her male counterparts and that there was obviously an anomaly in that regard”.

Over the weekend Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said he understands people’s anger at the pay increase for super junior ministers. Minister Donohoe said he accepts it has caused ‘great annoyance and anger’ but he also defended the controversial decision.

Once the 10% cut is factored in,the three super junior ministers will still be technically getting a pay rise.