Calls for better pay for councillors

Story by Ann Casey

Wednesday, 5th June, 2019 3:15pm

Calls for better pay for councillors

As county councillors settle into their new roles,  Senator Victor Boyhan, a member of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Local Government. says it is timely that the Government address the issue of poor pay for councillors. 
He says  that councillors should be receiving a figure between €25,000 - €30,000  per year for payment for their work.  
Senior Counsel, Sara Moorhead, has been tasked with compiling a report on the pay and conditions, but has not yet made any recommendations.
Councillors are currently paid €17000 annually. Each councillor also receives an €1,000 annual allowance on top of this, and councillors can also get vouched expenses of up to €5,000 or unvouched up to €2,413.
The council cathaoirleach receives a taxable allowance of €30,000 per year and the Leas Chathaoirleach €6,000.
The Mayor of Navan receives €12,000 per annum and the chairs of the other electoral areas receive €6,000, while the chairs of Strategic Policy Committees get €6,000.
Payment to councillors has split the council in the past and Cllr Wayne Harding earlier this year expressed opposition to proposals to increase payments.
"I am amazed at the cross party support for the proposals for a hike to the remuneration," he told the Meath Chronicle some months ago.
“The front line service people in this country must be fuming - the teachers, nurses and guards and all first responders. I believe putting yourself forward as a local representative is a vocation and one that comes with enormous pressure and criticism.
“Of course local councillors are not earning the money that people might think we are being paid, and we are in fact drastically under paid for the work we do. But we entered public life of our own free will. Spare a thought for the newly qualified teacher, guard ,nurse, fireman or any first responders who realise that their pay doesn’t keep up with their rent." 
Cllr Sharon Keogan said she was 100 per cent behind an increase in the remuneration, pointing out she is a full time councillor. “It is all very well for Cllr Harding, but he has another job as a publican. He chooses to stand behind the bar, but I work as a councillor full-time, 80 hours a week and my weekends are taken up with council work as well,” she said. “You cannot give 100 per cent commitment to the public unless you are working at it full time,” she said.

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