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Thursday 18 January 2018

Councillors set for €1,000 pay hike

Housing Minister Simon Coveney. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Housing Minister Simon Coveney. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Kevin Doyle and Niall O’Connor

Councillors are to get a pay rise in the region of €1,000, can reveal.

Housing Minister Simon Coveney, who also has responsibility for local government, has privately signalled to Fine Gael senators that he will love favourably on requests for the hike.

Local representatives have complained that their workload has increased dramatically since the last government cut their numbers from 1,627 to 949.

They are currently paid €16,565 a year and have previously requested an increase of €6,000.

However, Mr Coveney is expected to sanction a €1,000 pay rise in the coming days and some changes to their expenses scheme.

Councillors are entitled to an unvouched allowance of around €2,500. “This could be doubled to €5,000,” the source said.

The news is likely to raise eyebrows at a time when gardaí are set to take industrial action over pay.

Fine Gael sources have tonight also said it will heat up the race between Mr Coveney and Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar to be the next leader of Fine Gael.

The party’s councillors will all have a say in the contest once Enda Kenny steps down as leader.

Mr Varadkar has previously signalled that he intends to open up a wide range of social welfare benefits to councillors.

Under the current system, they pay a 4pc PRSI rate known as Class K but aren’t entitled to any benefits.

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