Sinn Féin proposes €35,000 salary for ‘full-time’ councillors

Issue of local authority member remuneration ‘extremely complex’, lawyer tells Government

Sinn Féin has proposed setting a €35,000 salary for full-time city and county councillors and removing their unvouched expenses as part of an overhaul of the pay of elected members on local authorities.

The Government appointed senior counsel Sara Moorhead in June to conduct an independent review of the role and remuneration of councillors and an interim report has been received in recent days.

It states that the issue is “extremely complex” and that a “considerable amount of work remains to be undertaken” including an online survey of councillors to determine their current workload. A final report on the subject is to be given to the Government by April.

Sinn Féin made a submission as part of the review in which it said part-time councillors should receive about €25,000 a year with full-time councillors receiving some €35,000. The current system of unvouched expenses should be abolished, it said.


‘Basic rate’

“The basic rate of councillor pay should be set at €25,000 gross per year, subject to standard income tax, USC and PRSI contributions,” Sinn Féin said.

“When income tax and USC are taken into account this would result in approximately the same net income as currently received from the taxed representational payment and untaxed expenses payment. This rate would apply as long as councillors attend set number of council meetings per year.”

Sinn Féin proposed that councillor would have to demonstrate their duties are a full-time job to receive the €35,000 rate.

The submission, made by the party’s housing spokesman Eoin Ó Broin, says most councillors earn a gross income of €23,000.

Survey of local authorities

Minister of State for Local Government John Paul Phelan is to appear before the Oireachtas housing committee on Wednesday to discuss the issue of remuneration.

He is expected to state that there will also be a survey of local authorities which will hone in on the financial aspects of the current remuneration regime “with a view to building a better statistical analysis of the costs involved”.

Mr Phelan is expected to acknowledge that the issue of the remuneration of local authority elected members is one that is “of huge importance to elected members”.

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times