Fine Gael member of parliament Aine Collins claims that comments she allegedly made during a private meeting with constituents were taken out of context and have thus caused a “great offense.” It was reported that Collins claimed that she found it difficult to live on only €140,000 a year.
The Irish Independent reports that the comments that were posted online were overheard at a meeting arranged between the FG Cork North West TD and a group from Collins’ constituency, the 'Ballyhea Says No to the Bondholder Bailout' lobby. The lobby group has organized weekly protests about the bank bailout for nearly two years.
"My view is that it is all very regrettable. I am very, very disappointed -- the whole thing is very offensive. It is not something that I ever wanted," Collins said to the Sunday Independent
"It caused a lot of offence and I can understand that. But it was a private meeting. And I don't discuss anything that arises in a private meeting -- I think that is very important," she said.
A protester who was on hand at the meeting posted Collins’ comment of “Thank God we get paid today” to a blog. However, the poster did not include Teachta Dala (TD) Collins name. The comments, however, went viral online and were picked up by newspapers within the following days of appearing online, and attributed to TD Collins.
Contributors to the blog reacted “furiously” to the notion that anyone in Ireland’s current economic climate would find it difficult to survive on a €140,000 salary. As a TD, Collins earns €92,672, with an additional allowances and expenses of €50,000, a combined income of €142,672. The resulting salary is more than four times' Ireland's average industrial wage.
"I have learnt a very valuable lesson this week," she said.