Oireachtas members on leave from teaching paid up to €50,000

Thu, Feb 12, 2009, 00:00

SUMS AS high as €50,000 were paid over the period from July 2003 to June 2008 to members of the Oireachtas who were on leave from their jobs as primary or post-primary teachers.

The amounts paid were the difference between the salary due if the politician had remained in his or her teaching position and the money paid to the temporary substitute in the job.

Some politicians chose to accept no payment in this category whereas others continued to do so. The figures were obtained by The Irish Timesfrom the Department of Education.

Among the highest earners was Labour TD Brian O’Shea, who was paid a total of €49,527.42 between July 2003 and the end of 2006. He has now retired from teaching and has not received a payment since then.

Former government chief whip Tom Kitt was paid a total of €44,983.50 between July 2003 and the end of 2007. Nothing was paid last year and Mr Kitt is now listed as having retired from teaching.

Mr Kitt’s brother, Minister of State at the Department of the Environment Michael Kitt, received a total of €22,139.59 on the same basis in the period July 2003 to the end of 2005. He is also now listed as retired from teaching.

Fianna Fáil TD Liam Fitzgerald, who served as a TD until the 2007 general election received €39,512.07. He is also listed as retired from teaching.

Government Chief Whip Pat Carey received €32,872.85 between July 2003 and the end of 2007. He received nothing last year and is listed as retired from teaching.

Independent TD Finian McGrath, who has also now retired from teaching, received €24,811.37 between July 2003 and the end of 2007. Former Fianna Fáil minister Frank Fahey and former Fine Gael minister of state Jimmy Deenihan received no payment between July 2003 and the end of 2008 because, according to the department’s calculations, there was no difference between their teacher’s salaries and the amount paid to their replacements.

No payments were made to Green Party Minister of State Trevor Sargent as he was not accepting them. Fianna Fáil Minister of State Tony Killeen received a total of €2,778.63 from the beginning of 2006 to June 2008.

Leas-Cheann Comhairle Brendan Howlin recently announced his resignation from teaching and has not received any payments since 2006. In the period from July 2003 to the end of 2006, Mr Howlin was paid €15,984.93.

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny has also resigned from his teaching post and no payments were made to him during the 2003-2008 period.

No payments were accepted by Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin, Minister for Social and Family Affairs Mary Hanafin and Labour TDs Róisín Shortall and Tommy Broughan.