Four out of five Fine Gael TDs in line for income boost

Appointments by Taoiseach Enda Kenny will provide range of additional paid roles

Up to 80 per cent of Fine Gael deputies will be given some salaried or remunerated position in addition to their TD role when all the jobs in Taoiseach Enda Kenny's direct or indirect gift are filled over the coming days.

Mr Kenny has already appointed 12 Fine Gael TDs to the Cabinet and a further 15 to be Ministers of State since he was elected Taoiseach on May 6th.

Today the Dáil is likely to approve the report of the Committee on Dáil Reform, which will clear the way for new standing orders to be adopted by the House.

In turn that will facilitate the establishment of Oireachtas committees, though the Taoiseach will have to make his 11 nominations to the Seanad so the Upper House can meet and make its nominations to joint Oireachtas committees.

Housekeeping committees

The Dáil reform report anticipates that there will be 23 committees, consisting of "housekeeping" committees such as the Committee on Procedure and Privileges, "thematic" committees, such as the new budget oversight committee, the Public Accounts Committee and the Irish language committee as well as 13 committees that cover the work of each Government department.

It is expected that a new system for allocating the chairs of committees will be agreed using the D’Hondt method, which is also used by the parties in Stormont for selecting ministers in the power-sharing administration.

Fine Gael sources expect to get at least eight of the 23 committees, bringing to 35 the number of Fine Gael TDs appointed to ministerial or chairman’s roles. Under present Oireachtas rules, committee chairs are paid an allowance of €8,750 a year in addition to their TD salary.

Mr Kenny is also likely to appoint at least one and possibly more assistant whips to the office of Government Chief Whip Regina Doherty.

In the last Dáil, the assistant government whip was paid an extra €13,800, while the assistant Fine Gael whip was paid €6,900.

A number of other positions will be sought after by non-office holder TDs. They include the chair of the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly (which has an allowance of €8,740) and membership of the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission, which has an allowance of €8,750 a year.

In all, some 40 of the 50 Fine Gael TDs who won seats in the general election will be given a paid job of some description, in addition to their TD role.

Travel opportunities

Other TDs will be appointed to represent Ireland at the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe, the OSCE and the OECD which posts are not paid by the Irish authorities but which offer travel opportunities that are sought after by some TDs.

In the last Dáil, because it had more TDs and had to share ministerial jobs and committee chairs with the Labour Party, Fine Gael had many more backbenchers. Now, with fewer TDs and more jobs, some Fine Gael TDs joke that the chances for backbench revolts are greatly diminished.