Government defers pay increases for Ministers


The Government has decided to defer the first part of Cabinet pay rises by a year and to pay the remainder of the increase in 2009 and 2010, according to Taoiseach Bertie Ahern. "The full costs will not come on the exchequer until 2011, which will be 11 years after the last report by the review body," Mr Ahern told the Dáil.

In the wake of the controversy over the Taoiseach's €38,000 pay increase and €26,500 for Ministers, Mr Ahern said: "We have put the cost back 11 years from the last implementation of the review body's report", in reference to the pay increase recommendation by the Review Body on Higher Remuneration in the Public Sector.

"The increases for Civil Service and commercial semi-State bodies went into the system after the decision was made and the personnel in question will be paid. The Government will also pass the order for the judiciary.

"The only people to have their increases delayed will be the Ministers and Ministers of State."

The Taoiseach said "we wanted to give a good example of our good will".

"I always take the view that this House should accept recommendations of bodies it sets up," he said. "A government has never rejected a report by this body since it was set up 1969. The recommendations of reports have been phased in, delayed or postponed but have never been rejected.

"The body decided not to take into account the private sector as it indicated the position of Government was unrelated.

"We received the report in the autumn and the Government is mindful that the November exchequer figures were not as good as hoped. The benchmarking report is imminent and we will not know its outcome until it is finished.

"We are in a tighter position so taking such matters into account, it is the Government's view that to go with the phasing previously looked at would perhaps not be reasonable," the Taoiseach said.