Three Carlow Kilkenny TDs are explaining why they voted in favour of a pay increase for some Ministers of State.
On Friday the Dáíl passed a bill giving a 16,000 euro allowance to three Super Junior Ministers – on top of their 124,000 euro salary.
Fianna Fail’s Jennifer Murnane O’Connor and John McGuinness voted the bill in, along with Green TD Malcolm Noonan.
Taoiseach Micheal Martin announced this week that Cabinet members and Junior Ministers will take a 10% pay cut, following the public backlash to the bill.
But Deputy Noonan is now admitting that passing the bill was a mistake:
“A huge mistake has been made and recognised by government. It turns out that there’s huge anger over it. The government subsequently announced a 10% pay reduction for all government Ministers, including Juniors, and I do welcome that, but I think at that stage the damage had been done”.
Meanwhile, TD John McGuinness is defending his vote, saying it accelerated progress for a Technological University for the South East:
“Arising from the passage of that bill, Tom Boland was appointed to spearhead the delivery of what is a problematic amalgamation, Carlow and Waterford, in terms of the Technological University. And the inclusion of Kilkenny in that as a campus is paramount”.
His fellow Fianna Fail TD Jennifer Murnane O’Connor says she also didn’t want to vote against the University.
“If I didn’t vote, it meant I was voting against the Technological University. And I’ve been working so hard for this, I met with Simon Harris again yesterday and there’s meetings in Carlow that I’ve been working on. I’ve made this part of my delivery for Carlow”.
Deputy John Paul Phelan wasn’t present for the vote due to an illness.
Sinn Féin TD Kathleen Funchion is the only local TD who voted against the Bill.
She is expressing anger at how the other Carlow Kilkenny TDs voted, and says the bill had no significant effect on progressing the university;
“My blood is boiling listening to this. Okay everybody now on the Wednesday morning afterwards thinks it was a bad idea, yet last Friday in the Convention Centre they were all able to vote yes. There is no way that the university for the South East is being affected by this bill.”