Finance Minister rejects junior ministers' demands for increased expenses payments

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has rejected demands from junior ministers to drastically increase their expenses payments after a public backlash.

Mr Donohoe confirmed he has "no immediate plans" to increase the amount of money given to junior ministers to pay for hotels in Dublin when the Dáil is sitting after a private meeting on the issue last week.

Under existing rules, a junior minister receives a €94,535 TD salary and a ministerial payment of up to €35,319, pushing their payment levels up to €129,854.

However, their expenses levels are lower than backbench TDs.

Eight rural Fine Gael junior ministers met with Mr Donohoe last week asking for an increase in their expenses allowance due to the high cost of hotels in Dublin and other matters.

However, Mr Donohoe said while he has "listened carefully" to the junior minister calls, he will not be increasing expenses levels.

Noting the "pressures" facing Ireland's finances due to Brexit and other matters, Mr Donohoe said he has "no immediate plans" to hike junior minister expenses in the near future.

"I met all my minister of state colleagues last week. I listened carefully to what they had to say, but I made it very clear that in the context of the pressures on our finances we need to be very careful about making any changes.

"I don't have any plans to make immediate changes on the support available," Mr Donohoe said.

The Finance Minister separately dismissed calls to double the amount of money given to councillors, saying while the move has been suggested by a review "as things stand now I don't have any immediate plans" to increase salary and expenses levels.

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