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Ten councillors share in €1m payment pot over two years

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DUBLIN'S top 10 claiming councillors shared almost €1m in payments between them over the past two years.

The politicians, who serve across Dublin's four council areas, claimed the amount in salaries, allowances, fees and expenses.

Councillors are paid an annual salary of €16,565 and can also claim expenses from their local authority for attending meetings, conferences and training courses.

Mayors and deputy mayors receive special payments, as do councillors who chair certain committees.

Fine Gael's Naoise O Muiri topped the list with payments totalling €126,325 between 2012 and 2013.

COMMITMENTS

Mr O Muiri, who is on Dublin City Council, served as the Lord Mayor of Dublin in the period.

He told the Herald that serving in the position was "a full-time job". Payments included a mayoral allowance worth €71,000, which was taxable.

Mr O Muiri said that he did not receive any payments from outside bodies.

"It is a busy role and you are always on call," he said, and added that he had to take time out from other commitments to fulfil the role.

After Mr O Muiri came Sinn Fein's Cathal King. Mr King, who was elected to South Dublin County Council, was paid €117,415 in the two-year period.

Like Mr O Muiri, Mr King worked as mayor of his area in the period when the payments were made. He also served as deputy mayor.

He told the Herald that he has decided not to work and instead devotes his time to working on behalf of his constituents.

"I take home way less than the average industrial wage," he said.

Mr King also pointed out that he had donated around €20,000 to fund a 16-bed homeless facility in Firhouse Road. "The mayor job is a full-time job. I didn't see my kids for a year," he added.

Another former Lord Mayor, Labour's Andrew Montague, was paid €104,192 between 2012 and 2013.

EXTRAORDINARY

"I was the Lord Mayor of Dublin and I worked most nights until midnight. I was paid around €60,000, which I don't think is an extraordinary amount of money," he said.

Labour's Peggy Hamill, a councillor in Castleknock, was paid €99,078. She could not be reached for comment last night.

Independent May McKeon, from Balbriggan, was paid €95,737. The long-serving representative retired from the council last year.

Former Labour Party councillor Cian O'Callaghan, who resigned from the party to become an independent, was paid €90,002.

He said the figure was due to his position as Mayor of Fingal in the period and added that he was among the lowest claimers in previous years.

Labour's Pamela Kearns received €88,677 while her party colleague Peter Coyle received €86,477.

DEFENDED

Labour's Dermot Lacey, who received €85,755 for sitting on four public bodies in 2012 and 2013, defended the payments made to councillors.

However, he admitted there was an issue over sums claimed for attending conferences.

His party colleague Oisin Quinn received €82,495. Mr Quinn told the Herald that becoming Lord Mayor in the summer of 2013 pushed him into the top 10.

"If you look at the years before, I would do my best in minimising expenses," he said. The total paid to councillors in the Dublin area in the two years was €7.5m – a total of €3.7m in 2012 and €3.8m in 2013.

 


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