Voters want President Michael D Higgins to give up State pension in office

Paddy Power's Red C Poll reveals the electorate want their head of state to give up the gravy while he's serving as President ...



Paddy Power can reveal that 60% of Irish voters believe that Michael D Higgins should disavow his state pension while President.

And almost two in ten (19%) think an Irish President should receive the minimum wage (€9.55 an hour) and no more.

That’s according to a Paddy Power opinion poll carried out by Red C on behalf of the Irish bookmaker.

Although it was reported that Michael D would surrender all pensions he was entitled while in office to during the 2011 election, including that of an NUI Galway professor, it has since been confirmed that he had continued to draw his pension of €19,000 per annum.


Pension disallowed

But according to the attitudes of the Irish electorate, state pension payments to any President should be disallowed.

The poll results show that this is more of an issue with Fianna Fail (65%) and Sinn Fein (74%) supporters.

The majority of the Irish population believes that the president should at least earn some sort of a living wage in Dublin, the majority (81%) disagree with that salary being reduced to a minimum.

However, 31% of Sinn Fein Voters are in favour of Michael D taking the significant cut in pay.

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A spokesperson for Irish bookmaker Paddy Power said: Paddy Power revealed earlier this week that Michael D Higgins looks on course for a landslide victory in the Presidential election in less than two weeks’ time, with 70% support from the Irish electorate. But these latest results reveal that while the incumbent remains the clear favourite, the bulk of people (60%) don’t think he should be allowed to draw down a state pension from a previously held position while sitting.

“In fact, almost two in every 10 want to see the President of Ireland on the minimum wage of €9.55 per hour. The good news is, that should he agree to such a ground-breaking change, and relinquish his salary of the guts of a quarter of a million euro, he’ll be in for a pay rise next year, with that sum increasing to €9.80p/h according to Budget 2019!”

Crisis Mode

With the Government currently in crisis mode, there’s a 60% chance according to Paddy Power (odds of 4/6) that a General Election will be held in 2019, compared to a 20% chance (5/1) this year.

On the topic of Brexit, just under half of the population (47%) believe that a hard border is the most likely result of negotiations. And younger people (18-24) seem far more convinced of the fact when compared to older age categories.

A majority of Irish people (61%) would like to see the prospect of a United Ireland arising from Brexit revisited, a similar level to that seen in previous polls in the past year.

Fianna Fail supporters are more likely to support a United Ireland with 69% in favour, whereas only 53% of Fine Gael supporters would like to see Irish unification on the foot of Brexit negotiations. The vast majority (85%) of Sinn Fein supporters would like to see a Unified Ireland coming from Brexit.


Brexit deal

However, only 1 in 4 (26%) of the population believe that the Good Friday Agreement could be altered to accommodate a final Brexit deal.

Pollsters founds that younger voters (42% of 18-24 year olds) are more likely to agree with an amendment, with older demographics having lower agreement (16% of over 65s). And Sinn Fein supporters are more likely to be open to an amendment in the GFA with 38% agreeing that alterations could be made to accommodate a Brexit deal. In terms of provinces, Munster natives are most in favour of the GFA being changed (31%), while 23% of those in Ulster and Connacht would be in favour of seeing it happen.

*For more information on Paddy Power’s Red C Poll released on Friday, October 12th: see: High five for Fianna Fail in Paddy Power’s General Election Poll

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