Adding up the expense claims
COUNTY and city councillors receive numerous payments, the largest being the representational payment of around €17,000 last year.
Introduced in 2002, it is subject to PAYE and PRSI, and was subject to the "pension levy" -- the reduction that applied to all public service remuneration from January 2010.
Councillors also receive a fixed annual allowance for reasonable expenses incurred in attending meetings associated with their council business, usually around €450 per month.
They can also claim up to €600 annually for their mobile phone costs.
In addition to these tax-free allowances, each councillor is given a further tax-free annual conference allowance from which they receive travel and subsistence payments. Councillors who are chairs of strategic policy committees get a tax-free allowance of up to €6,000 per annum; while those who sit on VECs, regional assemblies and regional authorities and other bodies may also receive payments.
The Irish Independent compiled this information by sending a Freedom of Information (FoI) request to all the city and county councils, regional assemblies, regional authorities, fishery boards, health forums, universities, colleges and enterprise boards. VECs are not covered by FoI and a number refused to release the information. The figures compiled include the conference fee.
A number of councillors who lost their seats in the 2009 local elections, or retired, received a taxable retirement gratuity. Payments ranged between just under €7,000 to more than €51,000, depending on length of service. The total gratuity payments in 2009 was €4.76m.