Time to increase pay of local councillors
Sir, – Electoral reform is needed in order to attract our best and brightest to politics.
A week on Friday we will be asked to go the polls to elect 949 councillors. However, the work that these members of local authorities are expected to fulfil does not correspond with the financial return or administrative support provided to elected councillors.
A member of Dáil Éireann receives an annual salary of €94,000 while a county councillor takes in only €17,000. Many councillors, particularly in rural Ireland, cover larger constituencies then some Dáil deputies. Furthermore, TDs are provided with an allowance to employ a full-time personal assistant while members of local authorities are expected to work unassisted.
Many campaigns are run by political parties to encourage young people and women to seek elected office, but how can we expect to attract educated people to serve in local politics if the reward and assistance is minimal and does not match the work expected?
I would urge the Government to undertake a process of reforming local politics in order to ensure we are governed by the most talented and skilled.
The Government should cut the number of councillors in the country by half and double the salary of those elected while providing administrative assistance to handle the work load similar to that provided to Dáil deputies. I fear if we do not implement rigorous reform soon local authorities are destined to become bureaucratic relics of Irish politics. – Yours, etc,