Taoiseach defends salary in face of Sinn Féin criticism
Taoiseach Enda Kenny defended his salary in the face of strong criticism from Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams.
Mr Kenny said that the pay reduction in the higher echelons of the public service had ranged from 3 per cent to 30 per cent.
“In the case of the position I occupy, the salary is 40 per cent lower than it was for the person who occupied it before me.”
Mr Adams said there was nothing fair about those in the higher echelons of the public service having big salaries while those in the lower echelons were subjected to pay cuts.
Referring to the Croke Park agreement, Mr Adams said that while negotiations on increased flexibility were fair enough, they must be done in the context of the contribution of the work that rank-and-file public servants were doing, and had done, in tackling the economic crisis.
“Attacking pay from the bottom up is not a reform and is certainly not fair,” he added. “Senior managers and office holders, like the Taoiseach, are paid more than their European counterparts.” Mr Adams said that when the French prime minister was elected he took a pay cut of 30 per cent.
“The Taoiseach took a pay cut of 6 per cent,” he added. “He cannot say that nurses, gardaí, fire officers, teachers and others who provide a very valuable service need to contribute more than those at the top continue to be protected.”
Mr Adams added that two special advisers in the Taoiseach’s department were paid €168,000 each and in the Department of Social Protection the special adviser was paid €127,000.
“That is the nub of my question: how can the Taoiseach credibly call for cuts in the negotiations while those at the upper level continue to have lavish pay and pension rights which are protected by the Government?”
Mr Kenny replied: “A hell of a lot of what went on in the past has been eliminated. I still walk to work in the morning and walk home in the evening. Unlike Deputy Adams, none of the advisers in the Department of the Taoiseach have had the privilege of having their fare paid to America for medical attention they sought there.”
Earlier Mr Adams said he took note that the Government had given notice of compulsory redundancies in the public sector at the beginning of the Croke Park talks.
Mr Kenny, he said, should know that was not the way to engage in good faith.
“Lower and middle-income public sector workers have seen their pay significantly reduced . . . and there are now two, or perhaps evens three, tiers of pay for workers doing exactly the same job.”
Mr Kenny said that Mr Adams should bear in mind that the deficit this year was €12 billion.