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Some choices December 7, 2012

Posted by Oireachtas Retort in Uncategorized.

Much talk of heavy hearts & difficult decisions and while banks cannot be separated, the routine over and back on that issue alone allows government off the hook for what is unquestionably under their control.

This time last year they were taking heat over Richard Bruton’s sidekick and several breeches pay cap. There are just over forty handlers and special advisers serving cabinet.

Hitting nearly fifty if counting Ministers of State and for some unbeknown reason the FG Chief Whip. All of whom where not supposed to have one as James Reilly wasn’t long showing us how much responsibility the juniors actually wield.

Breaking the cap comes in at €978, 557 per year. An additional cost on top of the €92,000 salary. All of whom men it should be pointed out.

This sails easily over the million mark taking in the Whip and Junior Ministers. Not counting several other press officers, outside consultants and Terry Prone picking up half the Cabinet’s secretarial allowance we’re still looking at the guts of six million over the lifetime of the government, if it lasts.

Those below the cap received a €3000 rise in August marking year in the job.

Six million additional spending for those worth more then ninety two thousand euro a year. All would have been liable for the scuppered 3% USC increase but most, like their Ministers, are unlikely to live with disability, poverty or loneliness.

One million buys 45,000 hours of home help/PA support.


1. gfmurphy101 - December 7, 2012

Reblogged this on gfmurphy101 and commented:
Great analysis …… and they choose to……..protect the vulnerable (NOT), In 1846 Charles Trevelyn writing about the Irish Famine said in a letter that “Our measures must proceed with as little disturbance as possible of the ordinary course of private trade, which must ever be the chief resource for the subsistence of the people, but, coûte que coûte (at any cost), the people must not, under any circumstances, be allowed to starve.” and we know what happened…1 million died. Today politicians pledge the same, that they will protect the vulnerable but they say that they must also,( like Trevelyn) satisfy “the markets”. So now we know for sure that the vulnerable are going to get screwed because capitalism rules now just as it did back in 1846!


2. Bartley - December 7, 2012

Let’s not forget the small army of parliamentary assistants costing more than €6 millon a year … often-times family members of the TDs involved, including at least one seriously unsavory character with a paramilitary record. And not a Shinner, I hasten to add.


doctorfive - December 7, 2012

Big difference between PAs and ministerial advisers though.
Big difference between those over and under the cap too. Point is not to bash anyone in a job here, just to highlight how money is spent and put breaking of salary cap in context of the budget.

There are other things too. The cut to leaders allowance. Targeting savings or targeting the opposition? Government backbenchers seems to think the latter on Wednesday.


WorldbyStorm - December 7, 2012

+1 doctorfive.


Bartley - December 8, 2012

Big difference between PAs and ministerial advisers though.

Sure, but the sheer multitude of the latter more than compensates for the difference in unit cost.

Also because ministers rely on their advisers to get things done, this incentives them to at least set the bar for entry at the most basic level of competence.

Whereas the PA position, being in the gift of individual TDs, is open to even worse abuse than the adviser merry-go-round.

And the system is indeed widely abused to sneak family members, unemployable ex-convicts, and political “friendlies” of every hue onto the state payroll.


doctorfive - December 9, 2012

Dont agree with family being hired fwiw. It’s a tricky situation as they are often the very person who worked with them up until then but still questionable along with the multitude of other non advertised jobs in the gift of politicians from drivers to quango boards.

Co-opting of council seats being the zenith.

The difference is between 140 odd parliamentary assistants and the six million above split between twelve people after a 92k salary.

Several current TDs have seen the inside of a cell btw.
All the wrong ones mostly.


3. irishelectionliterature - December 7, 2012

Even on a political level it made sense to make some effort to claw back Advisors pay over the salary cap….. never mind TDs pay and expenses.

They have made a total mess of the budget and have made an awful lot of unexpected enemies. I’d love to see the local Government TD defend the closing of the local Garda Station , the reduction in home help hours, carers allowance and so on.
The property tax is really going to stick in peoples craw too, not just because people payed a fortune in stamp duty for something now worth half the price but the blatantly anti Dublin nature of it too.

On the right Property Tax and opposition to Croke Park has opened up the gap to the right of Fine Gael a bit further. The question is if McDowell or his ilk is willing to take a jump now and become the hero of the Sunday Indo. Theres plenty of Fine Gael seats there for the taking now in Dublin.

Fianna Fail must be laughing, God knows they made the worst decisions of the lot … but in a way we expected them to do no less. Labour gave us high hopes, They built an expectation that things would be carried out better in a fairer fashion…. and look at them now.


doctorfive - December 7, 2012

We dont expect FF to learn from their mistakes but it raises serious questions about the Leinster House bubble that the then opposition didn’t.


Tomboktu - December 8, 2012

A friend of mine is a lot more cynical in analysing the decisions of the government: how many of the cabinet ministers will not be standing at the next election?

(He also says the timing of any re-schuffle will be determined by the date when ministerial pension entitlements become effective — I can’t remember what the details are.)

There are times when I wonder if he is right.


4. Tawdy - December 8, 2012

It is ironic that fg & lab should be the cause of the resurection (sic) of ff, they don`t need to do anything or say anything, fg/lab is doing it all for them.


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