Paschal Donohue and Michael Noonan went on national radio this afternoon to defend pay rises for TDs in Budget 2017 which only offered old aged pensioners and those out of work just €5 extra a week.
Donohoe said that pay rises for ministers would be examined next year but refused to discuss the prospect of a wage freeze. He said:
“The last thing on my mind at the moment is the welfare and salary of TDs I can assure you,
“I absolutely understand that perception and I’m so keenly aware of the hurt and anxiety that’s been caused to so many people after all that we went through.”
Mr Donohoe was a guest on RTE Radio 1’s Today with Sean O’Rourke along with Finance Minister Michael Noonan to defend the much criticised first-time buyers’ tax rebate, childcare subsidies, Brexit safeguards and other key initiatives in the budget.
TDs are due a pay rise of €2,700 next year and another in 2018 while welfare benefits including the dole, pensions and carers’ and disability allowance is going up by €5, but not until March 1.
Mr Donohoe defended the salary increases for politicians which were agreed as part of pay restoration plans for all public and civil servants.
“Everything is now tied in to how we treat public and civil servants.
“There’s the issue in relation to ministerial salaries that we will revisit because I don’t want to be in a situation where people feel in the future that there’s any kind of unfairness going on.”
Michael Noonan dismissed criticism of the budget by the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council who say it is in breach of European rules.
He also defended the first-time buyers’ tax rebate – 5% of the price of a newly built home or €20,000 up to a €600,000 value.
He said it had support from the Central Bank and rejected criticism that it will drive up prices for new starter homes.