Updated: 01/01/18 : 05:46:44
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Happy New Year for TDs as €4,500 pay hike kicks in

It will be a happy new year for TDs as pay rises, set to boost their salaries by more than €4,500 by the end of 2018, start to kick in.

Dáil members are due to get two pay increases totalling around €3,600 today, with a further increase coming in October.

Independent.ie reports that TDs' pay rises from €89,965 to €93,599 under a deal negotiated by unions and senior Government officials as part of a wider package on pay restoration in the public sector.

The first pay rise of €2,707 is due under the Lansdowne Road Agreement.

An extension to the deal, known as the Public Service Stability Agreement (PSSA), adds another 1pc increase today.

A second 1pc rise - to be implemented on October 1 - will bring the total TD salary to around €94,500.

The Taoiseach, Tánaiste, ministers, junior ministers and the Attorney General will forego the pay rises due to them during the term of the Government.

A majority of TDs accepted a €2,707 pay rise brought in last April, however some did not.

A number of TDs contacted by the Irish Independent have confirmed they will waive the latest pay rises.

"As was the case with the last pay rise for Oireachtas members, Sinn Féin members will not be accepting any rise," said a party spokesperson.

Fine Gael TDs Noel Rock and Hildegarde Naughton were among those who waived the pay increases last time and confirmed they will do the same with the rises due this year.

Mr Rock said: "Until we get to the point where there's full pay restoration for guards, nurses and teachers my age, my position remains unchanged."

Ms Naughton's spokesperson said that she doesn't think it's appropriate to take the pay rise at this stage as not everyone has felt the recovery.

Fianna Fáil TD Pat Casey said he would be giving the pay increase to charity as he did last year. Tipperary Independent Séamus Healy said he refused last year's pay rise and will be waiving the new increases as well.

'Extreme'

Some TDs defended taking the increased salary. Fianna Fáil's James Lawless said the "vast bulk" of the increase he gets will go into his constituency services. But he said it would be a "dangerous precedent" for politicians to set their own pay - either increases or decreases.

He said that "taking it to an extreme", politicians refusing expenses or pay restoration could lead to a situation where only the wealthy could get involved in politics which would not be good for democracy.

TDs' pay is linked directly to principal officers in the civil service.

A Green Party spokesperson said its two TDs would be accepting the increases as politicians should not set their own pay rates, which were decided by an "independent assessment".

Fine Gael TD Bernard Durkan, Fianna Fáil's Seán Fleming and Labour's Willie Penrose all said they would take the increase, pointing out they are part of the wider restoration of the pay cuts in the public sector.

Unions do not classify the increases as pay rises but the restoration of cuts to their earnings imposed by the Government under emergency legislation during the recession.

Public servants earning between €65,000 and €110,000 are in line for the double pay rise due today.

And most state workers are set for increases worth a total of over 7pc during the course of the agreement up to October 2020.