Donohoe says salary top-ups need to be seen in context of stimulus

Minister says he can ‘understand the anger’ of some at salary hikes for Ministers of State

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said he could understand the anger at the pay rise for Ministers of State. Photograph: Julien Behal

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said he could understand the anger at the pay rise for Ministers of State. Photograph: Julien Behal

 

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe has said he accepts that a Cabinet decision to top-up pay for super-junior Ministers is causing “a great annoyance and anger”.

Mr Donohoe said he “can absolutely understand the anger this is causing for some”, but urged people to view the move “in the context” of the wider stimulus plan announced by the Government last week.

The Government came under sustained attack for what was described as a “devious” change to legislation to ensure the three Ministers of State who sit at Cabinet receive a €16,288 supplement to their pay.

It brings total pay for Fianna Fáil Government Chief Whip and Fine Gael Minister of State for Climate Change and Transport Hildegarde Naughton to €140,000, while Green Party Minister of State for Agriculture Pippa Hackett will be paid €123,186.

The Minister for Finance, who was speaking on the On the Record with Gavan Reilly show on Newstalk, said the changes were introduced because “we have a number of Ministers of State around the Cabinet table that would be paid differently, and we were looking to get to a point where if they were all doing the same work, they’d be paid the same”.

“But all that being said, I do accept this is causing a great annoyance and anger for some who are listening to this.”

In relation to the Government’s decision to cut the rate of VAT from 23 per cent to 21 per cent for a six-month period, Mr Donohoe said that for retailers “who are very profitable, or are at all profitable, or are at all profitable, I absolutely want this VAT reduction to be passed on.”

But I do know there are many other retailers at the moment who are struggling, and if they have a choice between implementing a price cut and then finding the viability of their business is affected or they can’t continue to employ somebody,” he said.

In those instances, he said he expected that some retailers will use the VAT reduction to maintain employment.