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€8,000 pay rise for local councillors if they back parties' deal

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Councillors in Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party who are being asked to back the programme for government are in line for a pay rise of just under €8,000 next year as part of the deal.

The programme for government negotiated by the three parties commits to implementing the recommendations of a report into the remuneration of all city and county councillors in Ireland within 12 months of taking office.

The unpublished report by senior counsel Sara Moorhead recommends a salary increase of just under €8,000 for local authority members.

The report is due to be brought to Cabinet for approval by the outgoing Government on Friday by Local Government Minister John Paul Phelan.

Local authority members are currently paid around €17,000 per annum, with the proposals in the Moorhead report understood to recommend this be increased to around €25,000 under a new public sector pay deal.

This would apply to the 279 councillors in Fianna Fáil, 255 in Fine Gael, and 49 in the Green Party, who are all being asked to back the deal, as well as the rest of the State's 949 local authority members.

The planned rise would cost the Exchequer more than €7.5m a year.

The report is also said to recommend a number of reforms, including the ending of unvouched expenses as part of an overhaul of the allowances system which would mirror the one in place for TDs.

The programme for government, negotiated and agreed by the three parties this week, also commits to examining devolution of more powers to local authorities to strengthen and enhance local democracy.

"Tailored and appropriate training" should also be provided to local authority members, and councillors should be enabled to access research and training to support them in their duties, the document states.

It also pledges to pass laws for the election of the first directly elected mayor in Limerick next year.

Irish Independent