Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has said that he understands the anger of people in a government decision to increase the salary of a ‘super junior’ minister in the cabinet by more than 16,000 euros.
Donohoe said he accepts that it has caused “great annoyance and anger,” but he also defended the controversial decision.
Two Deputy Ministers or Ministers of State are entitled to an annual remuneration of 16,888 euros in addition to their salaries of 124,439 euros.
The current government has three super junior ministers – Secretary of State for Climate and Transport Hildegarde Naughton, Head of Government Whip Jack Chambers and Secretary of State for Agriculture Pippa Hackett.
Mr Donohoe said that the decision to increase their earnings was to ensure that state ministers who do the same work are paid the same.
“I can absolutely understand the anger this causes to some. I would also like to say that we will do that in the week when we announced a € 5 billion stimulus for the economy, in which we extended the wage subsidy scheme until next year, and we changed the pandemic unemployment benefits over a very long period of time, ” he told Newstalk.
“We were dealing with a specific issue. We have some ministers around the cabinet table who were paid differently and we wanted to get to a point that if they did the same job they would get the same.
“But having said that, I accept that this causes great annoyance and anger for some, but I would like to ask them to just put this in the context of a huge, huge variety of different measures that we announced last week that all about getting people back to work and growing incomes again.
“The type of package that we announced last week is the largest package of its kind in the history of our country and it is about answering the consequences of this terrible disease.”
The decision has been widely criticized, with Sinn Fein TD Pearse Doherty saying it is unfair for frontline workers who will not receive a pay raise.