Oireachtas pay has decreased (Letter, Sunday Independent)

Letter by Oireachtas Head of Communications Mark Mulqueen, which appeared in the Sunday Independent on 14 November 2010.

Sir -- Your article "Divided Dail unites to give itself a pay rise" (Sunday Independent, November 7, 2010) was grossly misleading. To be clear, pay for Members of the Oireachtas has decreased nearly €1.8m (eight per cent) between 2008 and 2011, and that is without taking account of the effect of the pension levy which took a further seven per cent, at least, out of Members' gross pay. However, a number of vacant seats in the Dail will be filled next year and those elected will be paid a salary. The increase of one per cent is for this reason and this reason only.

You will, no doubt, be aware of the upcoming by elections that will address these vacancies. So, despite your misleading headline, there is no question of the Dail having united to give itself a pay rise.

The estimate was presented to the Dail in accordance with the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission legislation. The accounts of the Oireachtas are also published on our website, www.oireachtas.ie. Moreover, a copy of these estimates is made available to the Leinster House media -- of which John Drennan is a long-standing member --as a matter of course.

In fact, the budget for the Houses of Oireachtas Commission 2010-2012 has been significantly reduced through cuts, savings and reduced allowances and is €33m less than the previous allocation for the period 2007-2009. It is anticipated that the running costs of the Houses of the Oireachtas can be further reduced by up to 10 per cent over the next three years.

In the current climate, such misleading articles serve neither the public nor their Parliament. The fact is that despite the many hysterical headlines readers are bombarded with, the Houses of the Oireachtas are actually delivering greater efficiencies year on year. Now there is something you won't read too often in a newspaper.

Mark Mulqueen,

Head of Communications,

Houses of the Oireachtas, Dublin 2