Labour Party Senator Ivana Bacik has insisted she will only consider giving up her lucrative professorship in Trinity College Dublin after the Dublin Bay South by-election result is known.
s Bacik is currently taking a career break from her role as an associate professor in the university. The pay scales for the position range from €83,570 to €116,528 a year, according to Trinity’s website.
The Register of Members Interest shows she went on a career break in 2020 and prior to this she was working as a lecturer on a reduced hours contract.
Speaking at a campaign event outside Leinster House, the Labour senator was asked if she should give up the position permanently so as to allow another person in academia advance their career.
She responded by saying: “We are two days out from the election, we will see what the result of the election is.”
Ms Bacik said issues around research contracts given to people working in academia came up on “quite a number of doors” while she was canvassing.
Asked if she believed it is fair that she has a safety net for her political career which is stopping someone else from getting a job, the Labour candidate said: “There is policy, state policy on that.”
Asked what the state policy is, Ms Bacik said: “It is set in statute and so on.” When asked to expand on this, she said: “You know as I say I’m on career break, I taught part-time for some time.”
At this point, Labour’s director of elections, Duncan Smyth, interjected to say a “whole lot of work” needs to be done on getting people to consider careers in politics.
“If you look at the work that councillors have to do and sacrifices they have to make. We need to have a conversation at some point about how we can get people into politics,” Mr Smyth said.
Mr Smyth insisted Ms Bacik would not be “double jobbing”
“For anyone to get involved in politics at any level, a local area rep, a councillor, a senator or a TD it is usually risky and that is something they take on themselves.
“I would rather live in a society and economy where if people want to make that leap at whatever that there would be protections,” he added.
Ms Bacik is currently earning €69,474 a year as a senator plus expenses and this will increase to €98,113 should she be elected to the Dáil.
Separately, the senator refused to answer questions on how many times she previously ran for the Dáil and would only say she is running in her home constituency for the first time when asked. She ran unsuccessfully for the Dáil on two other occasions.
Ms Bacik said she was unware that she would feature in RTÉ’s National Treasures programme on Sunday evening.
She said filming for the programme took place in 2018. Fine Gael lodged a complaint with the national broadcaster over the programme citing rules on election coverage. Mr Smyth said the party wrote to RTÉ seeking details of Fine Gael’s complaint.
Other candidates are being approached by independent.ie about their employment intentions if they are successful in the by-election.
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