All TD salaries should be capped at e70,000 per annum, according to Longford / Westmeath Fine Gael TD, James Bannon. Speaking to the Leader, the Legan TD said salaries for top executives such as the Chief Executive of the Bank of Ireland (e830,000) are “obscene”.
Expressing the anger he felt during a recent parliamentary party meeting, which he subsequently left, Deputy Bannon stated: “I have no problem in reducing salaries right across the board. People are being paid well above the cap introduced by the Government.”
At the time, the meeting was discussing the pay levels of ministerial special advisers.
“What I questioned is when is a cap not a cap? Why are government ministers ignoring the economic reality that we are living in?”
In a statement to the Leader, Deputy Bannon said: “How can people struggling to pay the household charge, accept that the Government is standing over an obscene salary of e830,000 for the Chief Executive of the Bank of Ireland – again breaking the cap? The reality is that this salary could employ twelve people on a generous salary of e70,000. We the Government set the cap on salaries and yet we are the first to break them.”
Lashing out at his own party, Deputy Bannon added, “Government ministers think they can ignore the economic reality in which we are living, and pay unbelievable salaries to ‘elite’ advisers. As far as I am concerned in a time of economic constraint there can be no elite employees. While so many people are unemployed and families, pensioners and children are being driven into poverty, no one is worth a salary of more than e70,000.”
Deputy Bannon also highlighted that the cutbacks to essential services in Co Longford such as St Christopher’s Services in Longford town – which has lost e450,000 in State funding this year – were “detrimentally affecting the welfare of service users”.
He added: “Money is never squandered when its comes to services like this and I am puzzled as to why some straight talking deputies, who were direct and to the point in Opposition, appear to have become contaminated with the trappings of power. New ministers are provoking the wrath of the public by looking for salaries of up to e130,000 for so called special advisers and this is shameful at a time when 29 percent of our university graduates from last year, are still unemployed.”