Seanad, Dáil costs at €120m


THE COST of running the Dáil and Seanad last year was €120 million, €7 million more than budgeted, according to figures released by the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission yesterday.

The overall spend on running the Houses of the Oireachtas last year was €120.15 million, which included €21.7 million in costs arising from the 2011 elections.

“These additional costs were budgeted for 2012 but, due to the earlier than expected general elections, were brought forward to 2011,” the commission noted.

The comparative cost in 2010 stood at €107.2 million while estimated costs for 2012 stand at €115.59 million.

Analysis for the total number of Dáil sitting hours in 2011 stood at 845 hours, just two hours more than recorded in 2010 and below the 934 hours recorded in 2009.

However, the commission noted that part of the reason for reduced sitting hours recorded when compared to 2009 was because of the general election being held in 2011, resulting in additional non-sitting weeks.

It included a comparator for 2007, the last year before 2011 in which a general election was held, when the Dáil sat for just 643 hours.

The Seanad sat for 520 hours in 2011, down from the 613 hours for which it sat in 2010 and the 659 hours recorded in 2009. This represents a fall of 21 per cent in the number of hours sat between 2009 and 2011.

The comparator for 2007, the last year before 2011 in which a Seanad election occurred, recorded 366 sitting hours.

Meanwhile, committee hours fell by almost 47.6 per cent between 2009 and 2011.