Open trough, insert snout…

BERTIE Ahern won’t have to worry about brown envelopes any more, as he’s been awarded a £26,500 pay rise – taking his salary to an incredible £216,700. Meanwhile, it’s been revealed that the DUP’s Nigel Dodds claimed more in expenses – £151,412 – than any other Northern Irish MP last year, although at least he attended Parliament. Sinn Fein’s Michelle Gildernew is an abstentionist and somehow managed to require £138,779, although she only claimed £40,898 the year before. The average for SF claims works out at £134,175, while the DUP’s is £122,328, and the Westminster average was £118,000. And worth every penny of the taxpayers’ hard-earned money, the lot of them. Full listings here.

  • Outraged loyalist

    Great stuff Michelle. Take the Brits money and use it against them at every opportunity.

  • A.N.Other

    “Gildernew is an abstentionist and somehow managed to require £138,779, although she only claimed £40,898 the year before.”

    That’s alright then.

    Just another phase of a strategy of taking the British taxpayer’s money as part of a process deisgned to drive the Brits out of the country.

  • nmc

    And worth every penny of the taxpayers’ hard-earned money, the lot of them.

    Lol, and indeed ROFL.

  • Sean

    How if Gildernew top the SF rankings at 138,779 did the SF average end at 134,175 unless virtually every SFer had virtually identical expense claims or someone screwed up on the math

  • Ballygobackwards

    What did each on the NI MPs claim?

  • Ballygobackwards

    “the Westminster average was £118,000”

    Most MPs live closer to the HoC than the NI ones do – travel probably pushes the allowance total up.

  • Gum

    Why on earth does Ahern deserve that much? How he has managed to avoid having to resigning in disgrace is beyond me.

  • middle-class ****

    Bertie’s salary seems entirely reasonable to me when you consider what soccer players, singers, actors, bankers, lawyers and businessmen get paid.

    As to the expenses, it always makes me laugh to see who is at the forefront of this kind of whinge-fest.

  • Hogan

    “How if Gildernew top the SF rankings at 138,779 did the SF average end at 134,175 unless virtually every SFer had virtually identical expense claims or someone screwed up on the math”

    Sean, having seen how well the votes tumbled out of the West Belfast boxes at assembly 07 nothing would surprise me about Shinner balancing acts!

  • Sean

    Ahh yes the old they stuff the ballot box guff

  • BonarLaw

    Sean

    sooo defensive!

    I think Hogan was in awe of Shinner vote management not Shinner vote rigging.

  • Jocky

    £18,000 from staying away from home?

    The Additional Costs Allowance (cost of staying away from main home/ ACA) is paid to reimburse Members for necessary costs incurred when staying overnight away from their main home for the purpose of performing parliamentary duties.

    For an abstenionist MP?

    The 86k staff costs are pretty standard.

    She must be soo much busier this year.

  • noel adams

    In terms of the london living allowance i know london is expensive personaly i grabed an overnight with a labour MP i canvassed for the place was comfortable but not the ritz. So how come peter and iris can jointly claim iris 20,386 peter 19,558 if 40K is available must be some pad.

  • Todd

    Looks like the South is officially going the way of the North now…

    The best jobs to get now are in the public service.

    Great money
    Great hours
    and do SFA

    With Unions to back you up the minute someone says boo.

  • Cormac

    Todd,

    I agree – as a self-employed person there is nothing more irritating to me than the cushy lives of the public servants. And it’s not confined to them either. I once did some work for a former state-run company and it was an eye-opener. The employees – all former public servants – got to keep their old work and pay agreements. I was a contractor and therefore actually expected to do some work. The regulars would arrive in about 9.30, go for breakfast for a half-hour, then back to work, take a break about 11 for tea and scones (another half-hour), then lunch from, oh, 12 to about 1/1:30, tea-break at about 3, and then toddle home around 4:30. Nice work if you can get it. Whenever I couldn’t find someone (most of the time) the first port of call was either the canteen or the smoking area. I once rang my boss who had claimed he was working in another building for the day, I distinctly heard the TV and what (I hope) was his wife hoovering in the background… About a quarter of the people I knew in the building were quite openly spending their day studying for degrees…

    The public and civil service need a good kick up the arse. You can’t even fire them!! Where I worked they had a special retraining office for people who were uncooperative or just piss-poor at their jobs. People in their 50’s spending 8 hours a day learning how to type…

    I kid you not.

    Mind you, we’re ones to talk – half the day on Slugger… but at least I hide it (thank you, whoever invented the ALT-TAB combination)

  • The Raven

    Sorry to go off-topic again here…and forgive my forthcoming rant. By the way, I am not a public sector worker.

    Between them, with discussions of yesterday’s budget, and the previous RPA drivel, that elected representatives were aiming to downsize the “Civil Service” (i have no idea about local government, teachers, health staff, etc on this one) by 30,000 workers in what one MLA called a “single, swingeing blow”. This needs a bit of thought.

    Where are they are going to go? You think this number is going to be achieved through retirement and redundancy? You think they are going to start their own businesses? Be assimilated into the private sector?

    The private sector in Northern Ireland is in no shape to assimilate 30,000 people. Through the past, the present, and indeed for a good bit of the next few years, the private sector NEEDS that public sector to be spending to keep it afloat. 63% of jobs being public sector based is unforgivable – but to do an attention grabbing Nolan-grandstanding 30,000 cut on them is equally so.

    The average public sector weekly wage in England in 2005 was £535. The average private sector wage was £525. Gosh, a whole ten quid of difference there.

    The average public sector weekly wage in Northern Ireland was £522. The average private sector wage was £409. Lower, we would agree than the English mean, but isn’t that private sector wage astonishing bad?

    What I am suggesting here, is that instead of continually pointing the finger at the public service wage, we should be looking to improve the quality of the jobs available in Northern Ireland.

    A survey carried out by Invest Northern Ireland showed that “Belfast technology workers were among the lowest paid in Europe”. “Forget Bangalore, come to Belfast” was one tagline in the article I read. Do we think that THAT is acceptable?

    And do you really think that the level of public sector wage in Northern Ireland is the deciding factor? No.

    There simply is very little entrepreneurial culture in Northern Ireland. It’s getting there, but it has a long way to go.

    Just to go even further off-topic (apologies again!) the Economic Research Institute for Northern Ireland will be releasing some figures in the near future which will show that in terms of return on investment, foreign direct investment (FDI) never yielded half as much as funding spent on indigenous businesses.

    We need to seriously rethink how we develop entrepreneurs at EVERY level in this country, from the window-washer to the hi-tech boffin. Not continually blame the public sector for all the economic woes. Where else do people go, when there IS nowhere else to go?

    Remember when you make these generalisations using the term “public service”, you include teachers, doctors, nurses, fire, police, caretakers, kitchen workers, child carers etc. Where are you going to make these savings? There are only so many hospital administrators and Council chief executives to cut.

    You want something to shout about? Go and ask how on earth nobody has faced down hospital consultants, whose gross pay is in the tens of thousands, while they can work quite freely in the private sector for tens of thousands more while the waiting lists pile up?

    Oh sorry – did I just make a sweeping statement there? It must be catching.

    There are definitely lead-swingers in there. No doubt about that – but to categorise them all as such is assinine. To use them as a scapegoat for an economy which does not encourage the development of economic growth is just sweepingly unforgivable.

  • Wilde Rover

    “Sinn Fein’s Michelle Gildernew is an abstentionist and somehow managed to require £138,779, although she only claimed £40,898 the year before.”

    Surely there reaches a point whereby the people giving you the money yell “truant.”

  • circles

    “Have you seen the little piggies
    Crawling in the dirt?
    And for all the little piggies
    Life is getting worse
    Always having dirt to play around in

    Have you seen the bigger piggies
    In their starched white shirts?
    You will find the bigger piggies
    Stirring up the dirt
    Always have clean shirts to play around in

    In their styes with all their backing
    They don’t care what goes on around
    In their eyes there’s something lacking
    What they need’s a damn good whacking

    Everywhere there’s lots of piggies
    Living piggy lives
    You can see them out for dinner
    With their piggy wives
    Clutching forks and knives to eat their bacon”

    Indeed!

  • sammaguire

    “Why on earth does Ahern deserve that much?”

    Posted by Gum on Oct 26, 2007 @ 02:12 PM

    Have a look at how the economy has grown since he became Taoiseach (or perhaps this all happened by accident??). Then consider that he earns less than a typical director of a medium sized company. Hospital consultants no doubt would regard his salary as “Mickey Mouse money”.

    Any begrudgers out there evidently don’t seem to realise that all these jobs are open to everyone including yourselves. If these jobs are so great put yourself up for election and see how easy a job it is. A lot easier sitting on the fence whingeing of course.

  • The Raven

    Sammaguire wrote: “A lot easier sitting on the fence whingeing of course.”

    Spot on the money there, sir.

  • The Dubliner

    Sam, I’d much prefer if members of the Oireachtas weren’t paid a salary, only expenses, and ran for public office because they had exceptional talent and vision and considered politics to be a civic duty and not a career. Of course, the socialists will dismiss that as the basis for a plutocracy, but if you can’t afford to take five years off paid work then you probably don’t have much to contribute, anyway.

  • joeCanuck

    I don’t think that the Taoiseach’s salary is excessive.
    And please don’t compare it to Paisley’s salary. One is running the government of a country, the other is running a supersized parish council.

  • Comrade Stalin

    sammaguire:

    Have a look at how the economy has grown since he became Taoiseach (or perhaps this all happened by accident??).

    Given that Ireland was in the pits for most of it’s economic history as an independent state, and given that Fianna Fail were in government for most of that entire period, yes I do think it happened by accident.

  • Comrade Stalin

    And please don’t compare it to Paisley’s salary. One is running the government of a country, the other is running a supersized parish council.

    That part doesn’t explain why Ahern is earning more that the President of the United States.

  • sammaguire

    You can’t blame Bertie for the weakness of the U.S. dollar. Although I know a few who would attempt to!

    George W. has two official residencies (White House and Camp David), the use of Airforce One and Marine One, and no doubt will make a fortune on the lecture circuit when he finishes his Presidency like every other ex President. And memoirs etc etc.

    Bertie has a nice salary but no official residency. I’d put him in Farmleigh (it’s on the northside so he’d be at home there!) and knock a 100 grand off his salary.

    Comrade Stalin think you’re having it both ways there. If you can’t give credit to mainly FF for the transformation of the economy over the past 20 years you can hardly knock them for economic failure in the past. Surely Governments deserve praise when they get it right just as they deserve criticism when they mess up.

  • missfitz

    Raven
    I noticed your comments at post 16. There are a total of about 32-35 civil servants in Northern Ireland at the present time, including the non-NICS departments.

    I wonder if you have the number correct when you say 30,000 are to be removed? Do you have a source on your story, I would be interested

  • missfitz

    Sorry, that was 32-35 thousand!