Murphy: Cowen ‘not exactly happy’ with pay rise

The Government is in danger of creating an ‘us and them’ scenario, following huge pay increases for top politicians, according to Strokestown area Fianna Fáil councillor Eugene Murphy, who raised the matter with Finance Minister Brian Cowen this week. ‘The Review Body on Higher Remuneration has seriously damaged its reputation as an independent adjudicator on pay increases for senior civil servants,’ according to the Fianna Fáil councillor. Cllr. Murphy recently raised the issue with Finance Minister Brian Cowen. In a press release this week Cllr. Murphy said that the Finance Minister ‘did acknowledge to him that the Taoiseach and other Ministers were not exactly happy with this recommendation.’ Cllr. Murphy has this week asked the Government to ‘only take a four or five percent increase,’ despite the fact that the Finance Minister told him that it was nearly nine years since there was a review of senior civil servants’ pay and conditions. ‘I do expect the Government to retract this matter in the near future and if they don’t they are definitely creating an ‘us and them’ scenario. I’m not in politics to coin every euro I can and I’m sure most of my Fianna Fáil colleagues are like-minded in this manner. The Government is there to govern and they can decrease this pay increase, so if they so wish, let the judges and heads of semi-states and others in this category have their increase, but let the Government lead by example and reduce what they could take from this pot.’ Cllr. Murphy also criticised the ‘hypocrites in Fine Gael and Labour and other parties who despite their protestations would have done the same thing if in the Government position.’ ‘In my view this pay rise is wrong for the political system, end of story, and I’m confident the Government will act in some way to deal with this serious matter with the electorate.’