€20m spend on salaries for TDs and Senators in 2012
€13m in pension payments to former Oireachtas members
Wages and pensions for TDs and Senators cost almost €20 million last year, an increase of almost €500,000 on 2011, according to the annual report of the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission.
However, the 2012 increase was because Oireachtas members were not paid during the general election period in 2011.
Salaries and pensions for the members have fallen from just over €20 million in 2010, and over €22 million in 2009.
The total bill for running the Oireachtas was €105.5 million in 2012, down from almost €120 million in 2011.
Pension payments to former TDs and Senators amounted to over €13 million in 2012, a decrease from almost €18 million in 2011. Lump sums to former Oireachtas members came to €116,000 last year, down from €4.6 million in 2011 when many lost their seats.
Travel expenses and other allowances for TDs and Senators were over €10 million in 2012, down from over €11 million in 2011.
Land and shares
The Dáil committee on members’ interests received 382 complaints during 2012, most of them related to complaints that Independent TD Michael Lowry had failed to declare land and shares owned by him.
The committee found Mr Lowry had contravened the Ethics in Public Office Act, but said the matter was minor and the TD had acted in good faith.
A second report by the committee looked at the under-declaration of VAT by Independent TD Mick Wallace.
The annual report shows the Dáil held 123 sittings in 2012 – an increase of 23 per cent from 2011 – with the Seanad sitting for 110 days.
There were over 56,000 parliamentary questions processed in 2012, up from 37,000 in 2011. Some 53 Acts were passed and 119 Bills were published last year.
When compared with other countries the Oireachtas was placed 10th out of 17 parliaments in the number of Acts passed. The US Houses of Congress is in first place with 958, while the Welsh Assembly and Scottish Parliament recorded the lowest total with two Acts in 2012.
The Oireachtas had the fifth lowest number of administrative staff to each member with 1.62 staff to each member. The Canadian parliament had 5.67 administrative staff per member, while Spain had just one staff per member.
The Oireachtas sat for more days than parliaments in Australia, Poland, Canada, Scotland, Belgium, Austria and Russia, but not as many as in the UK, the US or Italy. It had less recess weeks than Australia, Belgium, Canada, Poland, Spain and the UK, but more than Austria, Italy and the US.