Senators call for increased allowances for county councillors representing large electoral areas

Ned O’Sullivan says time to “get real’’ about income of councilors

Senator Ned O’Sullivan said that one electoral area in Kerry involved three peninsulas. Photograph: Eric Luke.

Senator Ned O’Sullivan said that one electoral area in Kerry involved three peninsulas. Photograph: Eric Luke.

 


Ned O’Sullivan (FF) called for increased allowances for county councillors representing large electoral areas. “We face huge county council constituencies that will be much larger than those that have been in place heretofore,” he said.

He called on Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan to examine the matter, adding that it was time the schedule of payments and allowances for councillors was revamped in line with their new responsibilities.

“They must attend community and school meetings all over their constituencies,” Mr O’Sullivan added. “We must get real if we want to have the service that county councillors have traditionally given us.”

He said that one electoral area in Kerry involved three peninsulas, Dingle and Iveragh and stretching as far as Kenmare. Denis Landy (Lab) said he agreed with Mr O’Sullivan, adding he believed that councillors’ salaries, small as they were at €16,000 or thereabouts, had been reduced under the Haddington Road agreement.

“A number of councillors have contacted me about this and I would like the issue clarified,’’ Mr Landy added. “Councillors are entitled to the same rights as any other employee.’’

Diarmuid Wilson (FF) said that proposals for local government reform would see the movement of councillor numbers from the west to the east, depriving rural Ireland of the proper representation to which it was entitled.

Co Cavan, said Mr Wilson, had an electoral area stretching from Blacklion on the border with Fermanagh and Donegal to beyond Cavan town, almost 40 miles of countryside.

Leader of the House Maurice Cummins (FG) said he understood that the Local Government Bill would be published shortly and he was sure the points raised by the Senators could be debated when the legislation came before the Seanad.