On Tuesday last 6th December 2011, on the evening after the conclusion of the Budget 2012 announcements, Minister of State (otherwise known as a “junior minister”) at Ireland’s finance ministry, Brian Hayes appeared on the Vincent Browne show to defend the budget announcements.
Budget 2012 is the fourth austerity budget inIrelandfollowing the financial crisis in late 2008, and it fell to the junior minister to justify the latest measures. Not surprisingly, the junior minister came under attack from political opponents and others, and reacted with the well-tested tactic of counter-attacking his tormenters and challenged them to produce a better way of dealing with our gaping budget deficit. “We’re bankrupt!” he declared before inviting suggestions. “How would YOU make the adjustment”
The junior minister earns a headline annual salary – before expenses, allowances, benefits, pensions, perks – of €130,042 (USD 174, 256, GBP 111,147).
Poor Brian is obviously troubled by the financial mess the country is in, and the following are imaginings of how the junior minister frets over finding a solution:
“What to do, what to do, what to do” he might ponder, knowing he would be entitled to a €30,000 golden handshake if he were to quit his junior ministerial role tomorrow despite only holding it for nine months
As he paces his office going almost cross-eyed with the mental exertion he might at least be comforted by the fact that he gets €12,000 per annum as a so-called “public representation allowance” for which he doesn’t need provide receipts.
“Think man. THINK!” he might urge advisers, safe in the knowledge that he doesn’t even have to declare entertainment gifted to him by others
As he wakes in the middle of the night in cold sweats, he might at least be able to return to sleep when he remembers the ministerial pension he will be entitled to if he survives in post for two years, otherwise he’ll have to make do with an ordinary TD’s pension.
Now Brian Hayes, the TD for Dublin South-West has according to the latest Dail register of interests, no occupational income, no shares, no directorships, no declared gifts, no remunerated positions and his only property aside from his residence is an apartment in Clontarf which he rents out. That was the position in 2010. Compared with some other TDs, his non-political income is modest.
There is a comparison of the headline salaries of our own senior politicians and their non-bankrupt UK counterparts here. The UK is also noteworthy because last week Prime Minister David Cameron made his ministers accept an effective paycut of GBP 4,129 (€4,830) by forcing them to make bigger personal contributions to what the Daily Mail called “gold-plated pensions” The loot bagged by our politicians has also raised eyebrows in Germany; this is a report from 2009 before the country needed a bailout from the IMF.
(Graphic above produced by Japlandic.com, with other examples of artwork available here)