949 councillors are set for a pay hike in July.
The Cabinet has approved plans to increase city and county councillors’ pay from €18,706 to €25,788 per annum, as well as increasing the amount of expenses available.
Whereas an unvouched system had afforded each councillor €2,400 in expenses and €600 in mobile phone expenses, a new vouched system will allow for €5,160 in expenses.
The increase in salaries and expenses, which will cost the Exchequer an additional €9 million every year, had been promised in the programme for government.
The author of a 2020 independent review of remuneration for councillors stated she had “no hesitation in recommending an increase” in salaries and expenses.
“I accept their submissions that their workload has increased significantly since 2014,” Sara Moorhead SC wrote.
“They do much good work and undoubtedly feel frustrated that the abolition of the dual mandate has not resulted in any delineation of the respective role between Councillor and TD.
“The great frustration for many Councillors is the duplication of the roles. This is a conversation that should be had between Central Government and Local Government with a view to preventing such a duplication.
“Furthermore, such a duplication is being used by constituents in order to trade one local representative off against another. Clientelism has always been
endemic in the Irish electoral system and I am not naïve enough to believe that it is
going to be abolished overnight.
“However, if the electorate wishes to see their local area operating better, they must invest in permitting their Councillors time to be involved in governance, developing of policy and the development of structures and services at a local level and to reduce down the amount of time that they are required to spend on representational matters.”
In addition to the salary and unvouched expenses changes, travel and subsistence expenses amounting to €3,850 will also be allowed.