TD’s pay rise is inappropriate under current circumstances

Aoife Breslin

TD’s salaries set to reach over €100,000, as new pay rise comes into effect. Public sector workers will receive a 2 per cent pay rise, increasing TD’s salaries from around €98,000 a year to €100,000.

How can a wage increase for politicians be introduced during our current circumstances, whilst our economy is struggling, and our people are losing income due to this global pandemic?

As the new year began an extra 58,000 people signed on to the Government’s pandemic unemployment payment. Currently 335,600 of our population are receiving the unemployment payment due to Covid-19.

This new two-year public service agreement sets out that public sector workers will receive a 1 per cent increase of their gross pay or €500 per year, whichever is greater in benefits.

This pay rise comes at a time of uncertainty for our country, with a struggling economy, a large part of the population being unemployed and many not knowing when or if they will return to work, it seems inappropriate and unfair to announce a wage increase for public sector workers.

Many people are losing a significant amount of income due to this pandemic; therefore, it seems like the worst possible time to introduce a pay rise to politicians who are being paid enough money to compensate for the work that they are doing.

With everyone in Ireland currently at a stand still due to Level-5 restrictions, it only seems fair that the government remind their people that ‘we are all in this together.’

However, it may be difficult for the average worker to feel we are ‘in this together’ when many are struggling financially and our politicians are not, therefore, completely naïve of the average workers current circumstances.

People Before Profit TD Mick Barry expressed to Newstalk, how outrageous it is to introduce a pay rise during our countries current situation and he believes wages should be frozen this year.

Politicians will now be making €100,000, whilst people are struggling to get by. Why did they believe announcing a pay rise during these difficult times was a good idea?

Former minister Nora Owens stated how TD’s never asked for this pay rise to happen. This wage increase is to do with Public Sector workers, and the TD’s happen to benefit from this decision.

However, even if this pay rise was not sought for by the Politicians themselves, there is no exact reason why they deserve this 2 per cent increase, when they are already on a salary of €98,000 a year.

With thousands unemployed, hundreds of businesses struggling and no answer to when this will all be over, it seems inconsiderate and selfish to introduce a pay rise to those in power, when the average person cannot see light at the end of this Level-5 tunnel.

Aoife Breslin

Image Credit: Geograph