Coveney’s move on Cllrs pay and expenses welcome, but must apply to all – Ó Broin
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Local Government Eoin Ó Broin TD has this morning welcomed Minister Simon Coveney’s ‘modest increases to the pay and expenses’ of Councillors, but called on the Minister to ‘ensure that any changes apply to all elected members’. Deputy Ó Broin also welcomed the move to a ‘vouched system of claiming expenses’.
Deputy Ó Broin said:
“Councillors currently earn an annual salary of roughly €16,000 per year. They can also claim unvouched expenses of between €3,000 and €5,000 per year. An increasing number of local councillors are full time public officials and many in rural Ireland cover large geographical areas.
“If we want to move to a situation where our local councillors are truly full time professional local representatives, we need to provide them with increased powers and remuneration to match their level of work and responsibility.
“In this context, I welcome the modest changes that Minister Coveney has announced today. Giving local councillors an additional €1000 per year is a small recognition of the work undertaken by these women and men for their local communities. While not providing an adequate wage, it at least a step in the right direction.
“Increasing the expenses payment by €2000 per year for fully vouched expenses is also a sensible way to ensure that Councillors reasonable expenses are paid while being fully transparent and accountable through vouching.
“It is also important that any changes to the pay and expenses of Councillors be applied to all local councillors. It would be unacceptable for these increases only to apply to one group of Councillors and not to others.
“We have one of the weakest systems of local government in the EU. We expect our elected representatives to be full time professional politicians, yet only pay them part-time wages. If we want local government to work in the best interests of local people, we need to give it the power and the resources it needs.”