I'm paying for what now?

Just after Finance Minister Brian Cowen warned of a tight December budget, he and other State employees have been given inflation-busting pay rises. Chief among them is our glorious leader, Patrick Bartholomew “Bertie” Ahern, whose salary is to go up €38,000 (14%) to €310,000.

That’s about €30,000 more than George Bush. As Gavin mused this morning:

Why should the Taoiseach be paid more than the President of the United States — a job many would consider to be a far more difficult and taxing position.

I would think so.

Michael Nugent then observes that Wonder Willie the Great Defence Minister — that’s this muppetnow earns more than the US vice-president, while Cowen is just ahead of British prime minister Gordon Brown. In fact junior ministers earn more than the US v-p.

Is this value for money? It would be one thing if the ministers in question were experts in their fields, rather than promoted from within the party. The amount of ministerial incompetence alone irks me about their raises — Ahern, who has been the subject of controversy regarding thousands of pounds given to him by friends in the 1990s, now earns 10 times the average industrial wage.

The review body that set out these pay increases based its judgement on what top business figures earn. But surely the idea is to attract people who wish to serve their country not those looking for a healthy bank balance (although a tenure on the backbenches and in a Dáil committee would be good for that as well)? Have I completely misunderstood democracy and the notion of civic duty?

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2 thoughts on “I'm paying for what now?

  1. Lucy

    I read this story this morning and was shocked…while it seems logical the person running any nation should make a bit more than the average citizen the disparity between a little more and 10 times more is a bit much. On a separate note: while the American president probably does deserve to earn more for his job than the Taoiseach, I’m of the opinion that the current American President, Bush should be making nothing at all for the spectacular mess he’s made in the past eight years. Performance based pay for politicians might be just the idea to make governments function better? Just a thought. 🙂

  2. Lucy

    Oh and the muppet— he’s one of my favourite sources of comedy. A pub fighting, gun toting defence minister….mmmmm….irony isn’t even the word to begin describing it.


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