Tuesday 12 December 2017

Minister Simon Coveney under attack from senators over councillor pay increases

Minister for Housing Simon Coveney. Photo: Tom Burke
Minister for Housing Simon Coveney. Photo: Tom Burke
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

LOCAL Government Minister Simon Coveney has come under attack from senators across all parties over his "disappointing" pay increases for councillors.

Mr Coveney committed to increasing councillor pay for those working in municipals districts by €1,000.

However, this excludes councillors working in city councils in Dublin, Cork and Galway.

This means around 60 councillors working in major local authorities will miss out on the payment.

Mr Coveney also committed to allowing all councillors claim up to €5,000 in vouched expenses.

Currently, councillors can avail of between €2,286 and €2,667 in unvouched expenses.

A number of senators criticised the minister over what they perceived to be the unfairness of giving some councillors pay increases but not others.

Fine Gael Sean Leas-Chathaoirleach Paul Coghlan broadly welcomed the pay increase but said there were "imperfections" in the minister’s proposal which need to be “ironed out”.

Fine Gael Senator Catherine Noone said the "inequality" of the pay increases was “hard to take” for the councillors who would not see their pay increased.

Fianna Fail Seanad Chief Whip Diarmuid Wilson said it was time councillors were "given the respect they deserve" and insisted their pay should be linked to a third of a senator’s salary.

Fianna Fail Senator Mark Daly said there was "great disappointment" with the offer among councillors.

Mr Daly also warned there could be “mass retirements” of councillors if pay and conditions were not improved.

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