More money for councillors

Reports of a several thousand euro increase on the cards

Sligo News File

The government is reportedly set to agree to a major wage increase for councillors.

Currently, members of local authorities receive a basic representational allowance of €17,359. The part-time job also attracts upwards of €5,000 in expenses with thousands more for chairing or membership of council committees.

Other monies include vouched expenses for mobile phone bills, broadband, office outgoings, training and mileage in connection with conferences, estimated to be collectively worth about €10,000

Pay for the chairman of a county council runs to €30,000 with a budget of several thousand euro.  

There are also retirement gratuities, some close to €70,000 – the scale is dependent on years of service.

Most of the elected members have other jobs, paid full-time occupations such as company directors, contractors, builders, developers, landowners, farmers, retail business owners, solicitors, accountants, nurses, teachers, council employees, trade unionists and so on.

But still, TD’s and senators whose own salaries have just been increased are demanding that the elected members must now be also paid more – councillors once did the job for free. Reports suggest that the government is already considering measures which could result in the basic €17,359 being powered up by another nearly €8,000, a whopping increase which, with the various expenses and allowances, would leave most councillors right up at nearly the industrial wage – that for a job of a few hours a week!

There are concerns about the impact the likely salary increases for councillors will have on homeowners. It will be remembered that soon after the last local elections, Sligo was among local authorities where a majority of elected members voted to raise the local property tax on family dwellings by a colossal 15%.

Then, last year, Sligo County Council announced that members had again “passed a resolution at a meeting held on 7th September 2020 to the effect that the basic rate of local property tax should stand varied by an increase of 15% for the 2021 year – 1st November 2020 to 31st October 2021, in respect of relevant residential properties situated in this local authority’s administrative area with effect from the liability date of 1st November 2020.”