Councillor backlash over plan to slash their pay
Published 03/06/2014 | 02:30
SOME of the country's newly elected councillors have raised concerns with the massive salary cuts planned by Environment Minister Phil Hogan.
Incoming city and county councillors will lose out on expenses payments totalling at least €20,000 each over their five-year term, the Irish Independent revealed yesterday.
However it is the slashing of the salaries of mayors and cathaoirligh, some by up to 60pc, and the introduction of strict pay caps that has led to a backlash by councillors around the country.
In Cork city, the mayor's salary has been reduced from €79,000 to €30,000. Fianna Fail's Sean Martin described the cut as "excessive" and said some councillors "might think twice" before taking up the role of Lord Mayor.
"I don't think the minister (Phil Hogan) understands the nature of the job of Lord Mayor of Cork. It has to be reviewed. I've no problem if they review the councillors' salaries and knock them down.
"The problem with the Lord Mayor of Cork is, when I took it 10 years ago, I had to take a year out of work with the ESB and my wife took a year out. If you're suggesting a couple can take 12 months out of work when you have a mortgage and a family, and you're getting €30,000, I think that needs to be considered."
Cllr Martin, brother of Fianna Fail leader Micheal, added: "This is a job that starts at 7 o'clock in the morning and you could still be going until 2 o'clock the following morning. It's seven day a week."
The remarks echoed those of former Cork city Lord Mayor Terry Shannon who has called on Mr Hogan to reconsider the cut.
In Limerick, the salary of the Cathaoirleach on the new one-county authority will be just €18,000 – down from €60,000.
Sinn Fein Cllr Maurice Quinlivan said he thought the new wage was "a little bit low" for a full-time job.
He said: "I don't know if you're going to get people to do it for €18,000". However he added the cut was a result of excessive wages and expenses claimed in the past.
"The mayor should receive the average industrial wage for the year," he said.
Dublin's new Lord Mayor will see his or her salary drop from around €66,000 to €50,000. Cllr Deirdre Heney said she was in favour of cuts "as long they are fair for all".
But she added that if a person "has to give up a job to take on the roll as the Lord Mayor, it would be a bit unfair".