Tuesday 6 December 2016

Revealed: The salaries TDs pocketed over 10 weeks of government talks

A total of €2.7m (or €38,500 a day) was paid to TDs over the 70 days since the General Election

Meadhbh McGrath

Published 06/05/2016 | 16:35

We finally have a government - at a cost of €38,500 a day in TD salaries over the 70 days since the General Election.

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An agreement has been reached at long last as Enda Kenny finally scraped in as Taoiseach this afternoon with 59 votes.

However, in the 10 weeks of government negotiations, the 158 elected TDs and the 10 acting ministers who lost their seats have pocketed substantial sums of taxpayer money.

Despite failing to keep their seats in the General Election, Acting Communications Minister Alex White and Acting Children's Minister James Reilly have taken home pay packets of more than €10,000 each since the end of February.

Labour Party leader and outgoing Tanaiste Joan Burton,TD at Leinster House for theelection of Enda Kenny as Taoiseach Pic: Tom Burke
Labour Party leader and outgoing Tanaiste Joan Burton,TD at Leinster House for theelection of Enda Kenny as Taoiseach Pic: Tom Burke

Although the eight junior ministers who lost their seats in February are no longer collecting their TD salaries, they are still in receipt of a collective €52,893 in additional allowances.

A basic salary is paid to all TDs beginning on the date of the election result, and those with specified positions such as cabinet ministers or ministers of state also receive an additional salaried allowance.

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams.TD leaves as deputies gather to greet Enda Kenny ,TD as he makes his way to the Aras after being elected Taoiseach yesterday. .Pic Tom Burke
Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams.TD leaves as deputies gather to greet Enda Kenny ,TD as he makes his way to the Aras after being elected Taoiseach yesterday. .Pic Tom Burke

A review of ministerial salaries shows:

  • Backbencher TDs have received approximately €16,780 since February 26, amounting to €2.1m for 126 TDs over 70 days
  • Although Acting Communications Minister Alex White and Acting Children's Minister James Reilly failed to keep their seats, they have still taken home €13,515 each as they continued to fulfill ministerial duties
  • The 11 re-elected cabinet ministers have been paid €30,295 each, a collective sum of €333,245 over 10 weeks
  • Acting Taoiseach Enda Kenny has been paid €35,644, while Acting Tánaiste and Social Protection Minister Joan Burton has been paid €32,943
  • The eight junior ministers who lost their seat, including Kathleen Lynch, Aodhán O’Riordan, Ged Nash and Paudie Coffey, have collected individual sums of €6,611, amounting to a total of €52,893
  • The seven ministers of state who kept their seat, including Simon Harris, Michael Ring and Sean Sherlock, have each been paid €23,391 for their work

According to dissolution guidelines from the Houses of the Oireachtas: “Ministers and Ministers of State continue to be paid their Ministerial salary by the Departments throughout the dissolution period.

Enda Kenny,TD being congratulated by party deputies and senators who gathered to greet him as he makes his way from the Dail to the Aras after being elected Taoiseach yesterday. Pic Tom Burke
Enda Kenny,TD being congratulated by party deputies and senators who gathered to greet him as he makes his way from the Dail to the Aras after being elected Taoiseach yesterday. Pic Tom Burke

“The payment continues until the successor of the Taoiseach (who was in office on dissolution date) is appointed.”

All salaries are subject to tax, PRSI, the universal social charge, pension levy and pension contribution.

Michael Lowry,TD leaving as deputies gather to greet Enda Kenny ,TD as he makes his way to the Aras after being elected Taoiseach yesterday. Pic Tom Burke
Michael Lowry,TD leaving as deputies gather to greet Enda Kenny ,TD as he makes his way to the Aras after being elected Taoiseach yesterday. Pic Tom Burke

In addition to their salary, ministers also receive a number of other entitlements, including a mobile phone allowance and the Parliamentary Standard Allowance (PSA).

The PSA is comprised of a public representation allowance of up to €20,350 for expenses such as office utilities, stationery and advertising, and a travel and accommodation allowance.

Sabina and President Michael D Higgins (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)
Sabina and President Michael D Higgins (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)

The travel and accommodation allowance is intended to cover the costs of transport to and from Leinster house, overnight stays and other travel expenses, and ranges from €9,000 per year for those living in Dublin up to €34,065 for those living more than 360km from Dublin.

A Government spokesperson told Independent.ie: "The Taoiseach and Ministers continue to be paid their salaries as they continue to discharge their constitutional duties as cabinet members and heads of their departments."

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