Politicians were not always paid.
Lloyd George introduced pay for politicians in the UK so that everyone could afford to take part.
(Although he likely introduced a lot of corruption too.) dailymail.co.uk/debate/artic … Clegg.html
So what is fair?
To my mind, when we can afford it, it could settle at around €80k with absolutely no expenses or pension on top of that.
I would also link it to a number of KPIs. For example…
Average industrial wage €33kish x 2 €66,000
Less budget deficit penalty -€10,000
Less Unemployment rate factor (14%) -€9,240
2013 Pay before tax €46,760
Other KPIs could be health of the nation, Debt/GDP, SME profitability, Government satisfaction rating, etc
P.S. Leave SF/FF/FG/etc out of this thread please.
I would leave their pay as it is but reduce their numbers. Also, I would reform the PQ system and make them concentrate on policy and legislation. Let the councillors concentrate on the low grade social work.
Perhaps we should have an article in the constitution stipulating the pay scale for our elected representatives … no bonuses, and all expenses must reflect private sector best practices, e.g. all claims must be vouched. Similarly, all donations received (a form of income after all) of €5 or above must be receipted, recorded and declared annually.
Off the top of my head, how about something along the lines of this … elected Oireachtas representatives salaries are based on a average figure of the previous 3 years average industrial wage
President (as Head of State and first citizen) max annual salary 3x
Taoiseach (Head of government) max 3x
All Cabinet max 2.5x
All TD etc max 2x
If any career politician doesn’t think the pay scale reflects their “abilities”, they can type up a CV and try getting a job in the private sector. See what the market will pay for their skills.
And unlike the case of a former recent Taoiseach, under no circumstances should an elected TD be allowed to take their seat or receive any income from the position if they can not furnish a current tax cert.
Wouldn’t it be simpler to not have expenses. For example, instead of paying €60k + expenses, pay €70k no expenses. Buy your own pension while you’re at it.
I agree with the multiple of the **an **average wage except that the average wage only went from €37,440 to €36,140 from Q4 2008 to Q4 2012.
Also the average **industrial **wage actually rose as 30k got laid off.
So politicians pay would not be directly linked to their performance.
Would you be will be willing to be a TD for 80k pa? And if you represent say Kerry drive to and From Dublin twice a week and put yourself up in a hotel four nights per week at your own expense? That would cost at least €20k. Plus face being turfed out after four years having lost the skills from your original profession or had your business collapse to face the dole queue with no cushion?
Maybe you are a better person than me and into self sacrifice for the greater glory or Ireland, or maybe your earning potential is well below €60k. For for me a package of this type isn’t attractive and I suspect nor would it be for most other professionals.
Politicians weren’t paid when the franchise was limited to men of property and there were plenty of people in this category willing to run for parliament when supporting themselves using their inherited wealth. Maybe such people exist now (but not in my social circle) but even if they do exist, do we want a parliament dominated by them?
As mocame points out, you’ll be very hard pushed to find an honest person to represent Kerry South or Donegal North for 80K a year, expenses included.
The system would rapidly devolve into government by those with sufficient independent wealth or those who are sufficiently corrupt.
My biggest issues with politicians pay and entitlements is as follows.
Why are TD’s and ministers able to collect their full pensions before the age of 67.
How come some politicians able to have several pensions (TD’s, Ministers, Taoiseach).
Easiest way to fix this is to bring in term limits. i.e. You can only be a TD twice with no pension entitlements.
Lastly, and sorry to go slightly off topic but the entire process of becoming a politician is skewed in favour of public sector employees who are guaranteed their public sector jobs while they serve in political office. If anyone in the private sector wishes to enter politics its basically a case of best of luck.
How can we really expect our current cabal of sitting politicians to take on the various vested interest groups such as the teachers unions when so many of them were/are teachers themselves.
Surely the fact that politicians can collect their pensions before the age of 67 facilitates the entry of people who have no guaranteed jobs to return to into parliament? If this was withdrawn fewer people from this the private sector would enter politics.
As for the point about teachers, you are correct there are a lot of ‘teachers’ in the Dáil, but the vast majority haven’t worked as teachers for years. Enda Kenny worked for two years as a teacher back in the 70s but hasn’t done so for 30 years, ditto Brendan Howlin. Practically everyone in cabinet is a career politician. Yes they may have trained as something back in their youth, and worked at it for a couple of years but their real profession is politician.
The reason for the TD’s and Minister’s arrangements is that they write either write the conditions themselves or have influence over whoever is chosen to write the “independent” report upon which gives recommendations on their pay and conditions. If I remember my Yes Minister correctly, and the discussion between Sir Humprey and the Cabinet Secretary you need someone who is “sound”. In addition to teachers, I think you will find that a lot of politicans are auctioneers, publicans or solicitors too.
When I was a naive teenager (1970s), reading civics and with my “national school knowledge” of some of the heroic figures in Irish History (pre 1922), I thought that, first and foremost, our elected representatives should consider it a great honour to be so elected. Remuneration should be a secondary consideration. Despite 35 years or so of enlightenment (endarkenment ?) a part of me still thinks that should be the case. I have never voted FF, wouldn’t consider voting SF as they’re not far enough removed from the gun, and am very disappointed by the remainder, including independents.
As stated, teachers and other civil servants do have jobs that are guaranteed for them, therefore why are they retiring on politician pensions long before the age of 67. After their political career is over, they should return to being teachers/civil servants until the age of 67. Since the job was held open for them, sometimes for decades it seems strange they should not return to them.
However, you hit the nail on the head earlier when you used the words career politician. As mentioned by another poster, politics was never supposed to be something someone went into as a livelihood.
In my opinion, nobody in either the public or private sector should have their job kept open for them while they try their hand in politics, everyone should take the same risk regardless.