Aontú Bill to Cut TD’s Salaries by 25% during Lockdown has passed 1st Stage in the DáilSpeaking in the Dáil today at the passing of the Aontú Bill to Cut TD Salaries by 25% during Level 5 and Level 4 Restrictions Aontú Leader Peadar Tóibín TD stated;
“Ireland is in unprecedented crisis. 1 in 4 workers are unemployed. This is one of the highest rates in the history of the state. Hundreds of thousands of workers and businesses have had their ability to earn a salary deleted. They have had their income radically reduced. Many have been pushed into poverty. Yet at the same time TDs are receiving pay rises. Judges are receiving pay rises. Yesterday I will attend the Finance Committee where the FF Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath will defend a €80,000 per year pay rise for the post of Secretary General of the Department of Health bringing the salary to €290,000 a year”.
The contrast between the two Irelands could not be starker. The contrast is breath taking. It’s hard to think of a time in the history of this state when the chasm that exists between the people of Ireland and the elected representatives was ever as wide. Its also extraordinary Minister too, the largess that exists among the political class at this time of crisis. Ireland is standing at the precipice of major economic turmoil. The Budget Deficit for last year is expected to be €19 billion. Our National Debt will rise by €35 billion, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, to €239 billion. This works out at €47,700 per person”.
“Ireland is already an extremely heavily indebted country which radically exposures us to future shocks. When this crisis subsides as a country the Budget Deficit will have to be reduced. My worry is that FF and FG will do what they always do and reduce it with massive cuts in public service spending such as Health and increase taxes on low and middle income earners. If this government is still in power we may well be looking at a number of years of austerity in the near future.”
“In the last economic crash, there was a logical downward pressure on the incomes of elected reps in line with the rest of society. But on this occasion, politicians salaries are actually going in the opposite direction to hundreds of thousands of people. While the savings to the state in this proposed salary cut may not be large its really important that everyone, including TDs pays their share of the cost of getting Ireland back on its feet”.
“There is also the question of governance. How can politicians represent the people properly if they cannot relate to their lives? It’s clear that the government do not know what is like for families right around the country. Making decisions for so many people and being immune to the consequences of those decisions does not make for good governance. If politicians don’t share in the cost of those decisions, they are blind to the real experience of so many people”.
“Aontú has submitted this new Bill to the Dáil. If passed it would cut the salary of TDs and Seanadóirí by 25% during Level 4 and Level 5 restrictions and when premises such as Pubs, Shops Cafes and Restaurants are forced to close. Perhaps this will concentrate the minds of the government in relation to the mismanagement of Covid. International Travel has been a disaster. 1,543 people have died in our nursing homes. This is an absolute scandal. Investment in our Hospital Services has not been carried out to achieve the capacity that we need”.
“During all this crisis, the sentence we hear from the political class over and over again is that “we are all in this together”. But that is patently not true? There is very little sign of solidarity from this government. Many within the political class in Ireland have lauded the government of New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern during Covid. Twitter feeds from FF, FG and Green TDs were glowing of Ardern during the Crisis. Yet we ask them to follow her example of taking a pay cut during to Covid they keep their heads down. Its time for TDs to put their money where their mouth is. I urge the house to pass this Bill as soon as is possible.