TDs are on a basic salary of about €100,000. This sum can be almost doubled when expenses and allowances are taken into account. Most expenses are unvouched, in other words, it’s assumed that politicians will not rob the taxpayer. And, of course, most allowances are tax free.
In addition, most Fianna Fail TDs and many from other parties are all on nice little earners chairing committees, sub committees and whatever you’re having yourself. Committee chairpersons get €19,535, vice chairpersons €9,700 and sub committees chairpersons €6,200.
Only a misinformed fool would claim that our politicians are badly paid but on the Marian Finucane Show last Sunday Billy Keane made just such a claim. Here’s what he had to say.
“The decision that they wouldn’t take the pay rises was a crazy one, they should have taken the pay rises because if you look at the head of the bank of Ireland he’s going to get about 20 times a year what the Taoiseach is getting who’s running the biggest company in Ireland – Ireland Inc.
You (addressing Fianna Fail TD Peter Power who was on the panel) should have taken your pay rises and be men and woman enough to stand up and say we’re worth it that in the future if the politicians are properly paid they won’t be in the kind of financial trouble that Bertie found himself in when he was separated.
I have a lot of sympathy for him but he got himself into a mess, he was short of money because he was being paid peanuts and you know the old saying if you pay peanuts you’ll get monkeys and I think they should have had the courage of their convictions and say we’re worth it, we work very long hours, they have to work around the clock.”
Even Peter Power laughed at Keane’s obvious ignorance regarding pay rates for TDs.
To my knowledge Keane is son of the late lamented John B; a man of genius who, I’m sure, would be deeply embarrassed to hear such misinformed nonsense.