THE Mayor of Fingal has dismissed as a 'publicity stunt' an attempt by a fellow councillor to cut the extra allowances paid to the mayor and says he is prepared to take a cut in his 'generous' allowances.
Prompted by Cllr Eoghan O'Brien (FF), Fianna Fáil councillors are proposing swingeing cuts to the mayor's and deputy mayor's allowances as well as the allowances given to chairs of Strategic Policy Committees.
Cuts of up to 50% in the mayor's taxable allowances and slashing the deputy mayor's taxable allowances to zero are understood to be part of the proposal put forward by Cllr O'Brien and his party colleague, Cllr David McGuinness (FF) at the council's budget meeting scheduled for today ( Tuesday).
Speaking to the Fingal Independent, Cllr O'Brien said it was time for Labour and Socialist Party councillors to 'put up or shut up' and sacrifice their allowances for the common good.
'They are always bleating on about how council services are suffering because of the Government and the cuts to the Local Government Fund and this is an opportunity for them to save the council some money – they have the power to do it,' Cllr O'Brien said. 'The post of mayor should be an honour to hold and not just a way of making money,' he added.
But the Fingal mayor has hit back at the Fianna Fáil councillor saying that he does not believe the motivation for raising the issue is about saving money and is more about 'the publicity he will generate'.
'From a Malahide councillor with a sibling in the Oireachtas, earning a lot more than what a mayor receives on a once-off basis, this a bit rich to say the least,' Cllr Farrell said. But the Fingal mayor said that he has ' always believed' the allowances paid to the mayor are 'generous for someone like me from a working class background who has never earned more than the average industrial wage' and he said he is prepared to see those allowances cut.
He said that future mayors who may have to give up employment to take on the job of mayor full-time need to be properly compensated if the job is to be done professionally but said he would be prepared to see his allowances cut.
According to council figures, the mayor gets allowances totalling € 42,100, pre-tax, on top of his normal councillor's representational payment and monthly expenses.