Wednesday, 13 November 2013
Oireachtas (Ministerial and Parliamentary Offices) (Amendment) Bill 2013: Committee Stage
All of this would be obviated if we were given the rate for the job, full stop. That is what I am proposing in the amendment that was ruled out of order. I do not want to have to apply for this or that allowance. I do not want to have to keep records. I probably will not apply for any of these allowances because I could not be bothered. I find the whole thing insulting.
As I said, we should get the rate for the job. The public will be outraged in any case by our getting all these allowances, the history of which I set out on Second Stage. They were a fudge - we all knew they were a fudge - by the then Minister for Finance to make up for the fact we did not take what was due under certain pay agreements. I did not agree with that strategy at the time nor with a number of associated economic measures, including benchmarking. The Minister is still relying on a form of benchmarking, with his reference to these decreases being in parallel with what is being done in the Civil Service. Civil servants were granted exactly the same allowances under exactly the same regime and, as a result of their trade union activities, they were streamed into their core pay.
I am not suggesting that these allowances be streamed into our core pay without an analysis. What I am suggesting is that the Minister give consideration to abolishing all the various allowances and instead pay us a flat rate for the job, as identified by an external adjudicator. Another speaker remarked that this was done in Britain and the result was an increase in salary. So what if that is the case? It might just as easily go down. I want the rate for the job, no more and no less. I do not want bogus allowances and I do not want to spend the rest of my life filling out forms. That is not why I am here. I am in this House to use my intellect to try to help in refining legislation. That is my last word on the issue at this point.