Saturday 26 May 2018

Revealed: 'Acting' ministers Reilly and White bank €10k each in caretaker government... despite losing seats

More than €2.2m paid to TDs since General Election as squabbling continues over government formation

Meadhbh McGrath

AN estimated €2.2m of taxpayer money has been paid out to TDs in the 56 days since the General Election despite no government being formed, can reveal

The 158 TDs elected at the end of February have met just six times in the Dáil over the past eight weeks, although acting ministers are still responsible for their departmental duties.

Dr. James Reilly
Dr. James Reilly

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.

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 €42,312 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.

A review of ministerial salaries shows:

Communications Minister Alex White has lost his seat
Communications Minister Alex White has lost his seat
  • Backbencher TDs have received approximately €13,424 since February 26, amounting to €1.69m for 126 TDs over eight weeks
  • Although Acting Communications Minister Alex White and Acting Children's Minister James Reilly failed to keep their seats, they have still taken home €10,812 each as they continue to fulfill ministerial duties
  • The 11 re-elected cabinet ministers have been paid €24,236 each, a collective sum of €266,596 over eight weeks
  • Acting Taoiseach Enda Kenny has been paid €28,515, while Acting Tánaiste and Social Protection Minister Joan Burton has been paid €26,355
  • The eight junior ministers who lost their seat, including Kathleen Lynch, Aodhán O’Riordan, Ged Nash and Paudie Coffey, have collected individual sums of €5,289, amounting to a total of €42,312
  • The seven ministers of state who kept their seat, including Simon Harris, Michael Ring and Sean Sherlock, have each been paid €18,714 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.

“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.

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.

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 "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."

Earlier this week, Acting Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin attempted to reach a compromise over the issue of water charges.

As negotiations between the parties continue, the former ministers will continue to be paid until a new government is formed.

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