Councillors’ allowance expected to rise after government-ordered review

Report to be published shortly.

Sligo News File.

A government-ordered review of the role of local councillors is scheduled to be published within weeks.

There is speculation that the review will recommend more increases in the remuneration of local authority members. A Minister has said that the study “will devise a system of linking councillors’ pay directly to a Civil Service grade and bring all the ancillary benefits that such a change would entail.”

Currently, elected members receive a vast range of payments for serving the community. There’s a representational allowance of nearly €17,000 per year; extra monies for chairing and attendance at municipal district meetings, a vouched expenses allowance up to €5,000 annually, travel and subsistence expenses, expenses for rent, rates and utilities for offices, including home offices, and allocations for secretarial services, carers and child care.

Those retiring receive a ‘golden handshake’ of up to €60,000, depending on years of service.

The work of a councillor is only part-time, most members are in full-time occupations as farmers, solicitors, auctioneers, estate agents, publicans, retailers, teachers and the like. However, the government seems to believe all local elected members should now again be rewarded with even more payments.

It should be said that the work once undertaken by local councillors has been significantly diminished with the transfer of functions to other bodies, most notably water and sewers to Irish Water.

The outrageous tax that the government has slapped on the homes of all householders, the aged and the sick, is used to fund the activities of local councils. To ensure no-one escapes it, collection of the levy has been assigned to the Revenue Commissioners.