Enda Kenny has vowed that he is worth his €185,000 salary, while speaking at a Low Pay Commission press conference today.
Irish Examiner reporter Shaun Connolly questioned whether he was worth the wage, worth €3,500 a week, the Taoiseach responded: “Very much so Sean.
“Salaries are down by 40% in the case of the Taoiseach’s. We’ve cut everything to the bone and your question is typical.”
Connolly made the point that he earns more than British prime minister David Cameron, while running a country with a population smaller than Yorkshire. (NB at the current exchange rate David Cameron is actually on €196,000)
He was speaking at the launch of the Irish government’s Low Pay Commission to advise on the minimum wage.
There is pressure from unions to raise the current rate of €8.65 as the economy returns to growth but Mr Kenny said it will be changed “incrementally” over time.
Business group IBEC stated that at present there was no justification for an increase on the minimum hourly wage, as ‘is actually still 20 per cent higher in real value terms than when it was introduced in 2000’.
The brief response was a reference to the two pay cuts that Kenny has taken since he came to office in March 2011.
With regards to the 40 per cent pay cut he was referring too, Mr Kenny cut his own wage from €214,187 to €200,000 the day after he came to office, along with that of the Tánaiste and all other ministers.
In July 2013, his pay fell to €185,350 under the Haddington Road Agreement which implemented pay cut’s to the public sector’s highest earners.