Kenny refuses comment on pensions
Taoiseach Enda Kenny refused to be drawn on the high pensions paid to former taoisigh and ministers when questioned about it in the Dáil.
He said: "I don't speak for them, but this Government has made decisions for the future about all politicians, about the ending of severance pay, about the reduction in wages and salaries and therefore an impact on pensions".
Mr Kenny paid tribute to those office holders who had given up part of their pensions last year following media reports that seven of 116 former ministers gave up part of their pensions last year.
He was responding to Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald who contrasted the pay, conditions and pensions of former and current office holders, special advisors and senior public servants with the yellow pack wage being offered to graduate nurses.
Ms McDonald accused the Taoiseach of threatening public sector workers with pay cuts and that during Croke Park II negotiations the Government warned of compulsory redundancies within the public sector.
She said there was an unanswerable case for public sector reform, and accepted by the public and civil service. The case for tackling the very high excessive pay of a tiny minority at the top and their excessive pensions, is now unanswerable.
She said Ministers, special advisers, senior civil servants all need to have their pay cut.
And the protection afforded to this class of person contrasts very starkly with Minister for Health James Reilly's plan to slash the pay and conditions of graduate nurses and midwives, to accept yellow-pack jobs within the health service.
What happened to equal pay for equal work, she asked. And we see reports of former taoisigh and former ministers, many of whom presided over the economic collapse in this State on lavish pensions.
She said public sector reform will not be achieved by driving down wages for those at the bottom.
But Mr Kenny rejected her claim he was doing down the opportunity for graduate nurses trained in this country to work in this country. The new graduate job offer was an opportunity to work in Irish hospitals which is equivalent to what young accountants or teachers would get and not to have the prospect of going abroad.
During sharp exchanges, he said to Ms McDonald: "I thought you'd have welcomed that 1,000 extra jobs are being made available for Irish nurses in Irish hospitals. But I also understand your party leader went abroad to have treatment under a health system in the US. He's entitled to do that but I understand you're all on the industrial wage and these things are difficult to understand fully."
The Sinn Féin deputy leader pointed to remarks at the weekend about graduate nurses when she said the Minister for Health said if they werent happy with the scheme that they should emigrate or perhaps get a job in a fast food restaurant.