Mc Daid says media witch hunt on ministerial pensions will damage democracy

Donegal North East TD Dr James Mc Daid says he will not give up his pension in order to open up a debate on how TDs are paid.

He says cutting the income of Oireachtas members on foot of what he termed a media led witch hunt would open the possibility of politics once again becoming the preserve of the wealthy.

In a statement issued to Highland Radio today, Dr Mc Daid says while reducing the income of members of Dáil Eireann may provide some comfort to other workers who are experiencing economic hardship, it also has the effect of allowing wealth to exert greater influence in the political process.

Dr Mc Daid says sitting TDs, who are required by their constituents to provide a range of political and advocacy services, incur significant costs, and if political representation is to remain an option for every citizen, regardless of their wealth, those costs must be met by income derived from the office.

He argues that if changes to how politicians are paid continue to be made on foot of media commentary, and if this results in politics becoming the reserve the wealthy, as it was in the past, then great harm will have been done to our democracy.

As such, unless it is the express wish of Dáil Eireann, he says he does not intend to revoke his current pension arrangements.

He says this is not because he believes he has a particular entitlement to these payments, but in order to draw attention to the issue of how our elected representatives are remunerated, in order that we might debate this matter rationally, rather than make short decisions that will have long term and potentially irreversible consequences.