Fianna Fail TD, Martin Mansergh replies to my letter of 27th November.
While grateful for Anthony Sheridan’s complimentary remarks about my role in the peace process (Nov 27th), he misrepresents the point I was making about the Taoiseach’s future salary increase.
While the Taoiseach, as elected head of Government, has ultimately more responsibility for the welfare of this country as a whole than anyone else, I did not argue that therefore he ought to be paid better than anyone else, and I made this absolutely clear in several radio interviews.
What I did say was that, when it comes into effect in 2009, his revised pay would, by my rough calculation, with the help of information in reply to a parliamentary question from me to the Minister for Finance, place him around No. 13,000 in the list of high earners. Is this really so out of place?
While my point related to the office not the man, can anyone seriously argue that the successful completion of the Northern Ireland peace process in which he played such a central leading role is not of priceless value to this country, not to mention the most rapid and prolonged period of economic and social progress in our history under his leadership? The Celtic Tiger started when he was minister for finance, continued under the Rainbow, and has been underpinned by social partnership, of which since 1987 he has been one of the principal creators and sustainers, and which gave us the third quarter of this year free of strikes.
Finally, the relatively modest overall cost of the Taoiseach to this country bears absolutely no relationship to the cost of the president of the United States or the president of France to theirs.
MARTIN MANSERGH TD,