Bertie's stupid challenge answered

Strapped Ahern needs ‘dig-out’

Irish Independent Letters

Friday November 16 2007

Having been reduced to tears by Mr Ahern’s Dobson interview last year, I pity poverty-stricken Bertie having to exist on a mere €310,000 (plus expenses, driver, jet, make-up, and so on).

I feel like organising a whip-around, a dig-out AND a soft loan for him.

And I will be rushing to accept his oh-so-credible advice on wage restraint. In response to Bertie’s invitation to put other leaders’ arrangements up front, here goes:

• €310,000 – Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.
• €279,000 – US President George Bush.
• €270,000 – Irish Tanaiste Brian Cowen.
• €268,000 – UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
• €261,000 – German Prime Minister Angela Merkel.
• €240,000 – Irish Cabinet ministers.
• €240,000 – French Prime Minister Francois Fillon.
• €210,000 – Australian Prime Minister John Howard.
• €192,000 – Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt.
• €123,000 – Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende.
• €122,000 – Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg (Norway has the same population as Ireland).
• €49,500 – Polish Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski.

The same “independent” process that so deservedly rewarded our leaders also determined that the chief executive of the HSE, Brendan Drumm, was currently being overpaid to the tune of €57,000 per annum, when compared to an equivalent position in the private sector. (Luckily, that one isn’t mandatory.)

And those greedy foreign leaders have prolonged holidays, unlike Mr Ahern, who spends a massive 1.5 days in the Dail for almost 20 weeks per year. Most of the rest of the time he has to undertake onerous tasks like opening pubs, off-licenses and private hospitals.

Ray Corcoran
Dublin 11