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No delay in TDs’ pay rise – but pensioners to wait

Ministers and TDs will get wage hikes of up to €5,000 next year – before the delayed €5 increase in the old-age pension and welfare payments kicks in.

Budget talks between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil over when to boost the income of pensioners and other vulnerable people were deadlocked last night.

Sources told the Irish Independent that Fine Gael has now suggested a start date of May, while Fianna Fáil continues to insist the increase must start in January.

“The entire Budget now hinges on the social protection package,” said a senior source, who added a compromise must be struck today.

The row comes at a time when ministers and TDs are preparing to see their own pay packets increase substantially.

From April 1, members of the Dáil, including Taoiseach Enda Kenny, will see their salaries jump by between €2,700 and almost €5,000.

The TDs are among the public servants earning over €65,000 who will benefit from a clawback of temporary pay cuts that were imposed during the downturn.

TDs, whose pay is linked directly to principal officers in the civil service, suffered a €5,414 drop in wages – from €92,672 to €87,258 during the recession. As a result they are due €2,707 next year and the same the following year.

Ministers, like Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe, will see their wages rise by €3,911 each year for the next three years after ministers’ pay was cut by €11,735.

Meanwhile, a €200m black hole could emerge in next year’s Budget if water charges are abolished.

Tomorrow’s Budget will make no allowance for the possibility that water charges might not be reintroduced once the current suspension period ends in May.

The Dáil agreed to suspend bills for nine months while an expert commission reviews the charges introduced by the last government.

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