Enda Kenny’s new Irish government has put its money where its mouth is – and taken a pay-cut as well on the day it took office.
The Fine Gael-Labor coalition get down to work on Thursday with reduced salaries across the board.
Prime Minister Kenny has reduced his own salary from €214,187 to €200,000 while his deputy Eamon Gilmore is down by €13,000 to €184,000.
Pay for the 15 Ministers named on Wednesday has been reduced from €181,283 to €169,275 while pay for Ministers of State is cut from €139,266 to €130,042.
The new government leader has also instructed the Departments of Justice and Transport and the Office of Public Works to cut the cost of Ministerial transport within the next fortnight.
Kenny undertakes his first official function as Prime Minister on Thursday when he meets European Commission President José Manuel Barroso in Brussels to brief him on the new Government’s policy priorities.
Kenny will also re-affirm Ireland’s commitment to the European Union when he meets Barroso ahead of a special summit of EU leaders on Friday.
“This is the darkest hour before the dawn,” said Kenny after he was elected Taoiseach, prime minister, by 117 votes to 27 at the first meeting of the 31st Dail.
“In these times of crisis, full of many unknowns, honesty is not alone our best policy but our only policy.
“Yes, we are in times without precedent but I believe that for Ireland this current crisis is the darkest hour before the dawn.
“We are a people looking always and ever to the possibilities of a new day. That new day is here, a bright new day where there is no gap, where the people and its Government are one again, a day when our people are united in cause.
“This is the first day of a journey to a better future. That future will be achievable when Ireland can again take charge of its own destiny.”
The new Prime Minister also vowed to restore Ireland’s wounded pride, at home and abroad.
He added: “Our people deserve no less. That challenge is truly Ireland’s call.
“The Government and I intend to answer that call and to make our nation proud, prosperous and respected again.”