Wexford Sinn Féin has criticised local Government TD Paul Kehoe for fleeing from his office last Saturday morning ahead of a protest there. Over fifty people gathered outside the Fine Gael deputy’s office to ask him to hand back a €17,000 pay hike. Deputy Kehoe closed early to avoid the protest and questions as to how he can justify taking such a large pay hike on top of his already generous salary of €130,000 per annum while ordinary people are suffering the effects of harsh austerity measures.
“This payment demonstrates the widening gap between ordinary citizens, and a Government drunk on power which is obsessed with taxation and austerity and rewarding themselves huge expenses and bonuses,” Enniscorthy Sinn Féin Cllr Johnny Mythen said after receiving numerous complaints from constituents over what he termed "money for old rope."
“How many times has Paul Kehoe said that there is no money available to avoid harsh austerity? Just before Christmas he asked concerned Gorey parents, whose children lost their teacher due to savage education cuts, to give suggestions as how money might be saved so as to avoid these hard choices. It’s a pity Deputy Kehoe didn’t suggest not accepting his ludicrous pay hike. The fact that he didn’t shows utter contempt for his own constituents.”
“I welcome the fact that Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty has moved the Dail’s Finance Committee to scrutinise Deputy Kehoe's extra payment, which amounts to an extra €326 per week on top of a minister’s salary of €130,000 per year. Let’s put that in perspective. That sum could pay the household charge for 170 homes or the pay the registration fee for the septic tank charge for 3,400 households. It would take someone on basic social welfare payments 91 weeks to earn what is only a bonus payment to our local Fine Gael TD. Nothing that Deputy Kehoe can say or do will justify this obscene pay hike.”