I thank the Deputy for his question. The first point to note is that the 1 October adjustments to pay in the public service form part of the broader ongoing process of unwinding FEMPI reductions which was negotiated with public service trade unions and delivered through successive collective agreements, from the Lansdowne Road agreement to the current public service stability agreement.
The remuneration of Members of the Oireachtas, including Ministers and other officeholders, has been examined a number of times by the former review body on higher remuneration in the public sector. In its 38th report in September 2000, it recommended that the rate of salary for a Deputy should be linked to the grade of principal officer in the Civil Service. The recommendation, which was accepted by Government at the time, was based on independent and expert consideration of the level of responsibilities and the commensurate level of pay. Accordingly, the pay of Dáil Deputies has been linked for 20 years to the prevailing pay of principal officers in the Civil Service, including through the significant pay cuts of the FEMPI legislation and now through the pay restoration measures involved in the phased unwinding of that legislation agreed with public service unions and set out in public service agreements. This process of unwinding FEMPI reductions, including the forthcoming pay increase on 1 October, is also provided for in legislation enacted by the Oireachtas under the FEMPI Act 2015 and the Public Service Pay and Pensions Act 2017.
As the Deputy is aware it remains open to all Members of the Oireachtas to forego pay increases on a voluntary basis and I understand that many have been doing so. For its part, the Government has already decided that Ministers and Ministers of State, in addition to taking a 10% pay cut, will also forgo the 2% pay increase when it becomes due in October. This decision was taken in light of the Covid-19 emergency and the challenging economic and fiscal situation the country faces.