Taoiseach to get fifth pay rise in six months

 

The Taoiseach will benefit from an annual pay rise of €5,500 from tomorrow, the fifth salary increase for him and his Ministers in six months. Stephen Collins, Political Correspondent, reports.

The increase of 3.5 per cent, which will bring Bertie Ahern's salary to over €252,000, is the second phase of an interim special pay award for higher public servants. Others who will benefit are Ministers, senior civil servants, heads of semi-State companies, county managers and judges.

The latest rise will mean that Mr Ahern's salary has increased by almost €25,000 in less than a year through a combination of public service pay rounds, benchmarking and special awards. The increase for the Taoiseach and his Ministers began on June 1st last with a 1.5 per cent pay rise under Sustaining Progress. This applied to both their TD salary and their much bigger office-holder's allowance.

On the same day they also received the last phase of the benchmarking award of just over 3 per cent on their TD salary.

A month later the Taoiseach and his Ministers got the first phase of an interim special pay award. This increase of 3.75 per cent was designed to compensate senior public servants who did not qualify for benchmarking and was also applied to ministerial allowances.

On December 1st, the Government received the second 1.5 per cent phase of Sustaining Progress in line with the rest of the public service. This award was paid on the basis of "verified" improvements in flexibility and productivity, and Ministers got the increase both on their TD pay and their office-holder's allowance.

Tomorrow's pay rise is the second phase of the special pay award and comes to 3.5 per cent. It will apply to ministerial allowances and not to the basic pay of TDs.

The Taoiseach and his Ministers have accumulated the two special awards to compensate them for a loss of relativity with TDs, who benefited from benchmarking though they also benefited from the benchmarking process on the TD portion of their pay.

The latest increases mean that Tánaiste Mary Harney's total pay will be €216,694; Attorney General Rory Brady will earn €202,020; and Ministers will be on €198,921.

Ministers of State will also get the special pay award, and their total salary will now be close to €150,000 a year.

The most senior secretaries general of government departments will now earn almost €240,000, with the standard rate for the position now nearly €190,000.

Those employed under a new system that requires them to make a 5 per cent contribution to their generous pension arrangements will get almost €10,000 extra to cover their pension payments. Deputy secretaries will get €149,288 and assistant secretaries €126,186, plus another 5 per cent to cover their pension contribution.

The judiciary will also benefit from the special pay increase. The chief justice will have a salary of over €250,000, Supreme Court judges will get almost €220,000 and High Court judges €205,000, Circuit Court judges €150,000 and District Court judges €125,000. The latest increases will also apply to the pensions of former ministers.