Over €1 million made in payments to councillors in 2017
By Maurice Garvey
OVER €1 million was made in payments to councillors in 2017, according to South Dublin County Council’s annual S142 register for members allowances.
The total of €1,028,556 was paid to members in respect of attendance at meetings of the county council and committee meetings throughout the calendar year.
With 40 councillors in the chamber at SDCC, it works out at an average of €25,713 per councillor.
Councillors receive a basic allowance (representational payment) of €16,613 a year, which is subject to tax.
Expenses can bring their pay up to about €25,000, and are designed to cover travel, telephone, and other representational work costs.
The Mayor’s allowance (January to December) of €29,938, and the Deputy Mayor’s allowance of €5,987, is added to their basic expenses.
Up to €36,000 is also allocated for the strategic policy committee chairperson’s allowance – an individual councillor can earn up to €6,000 if they are chairperson of an SPC for the full calendar year.
Training expenses for 2017 came to €35,000.
Fine Gael accounted for €17,488 in training expenses, including that of councillors Brian Lawlor (€6,007), Vicki Casserly (€4,698), Kenneth Egan (€4,553) and Anne-Marie Dermody (€1,749).
The party with the second highest amount of training expenses was Sinn Féin (€7,227), including that of councillors Cathal King (€2,434), Louise Dunne (€1,698), Cora McCann (€1,431) and Dermot Richardson (€1,111).
Social Democrat Councillor Dermot Looney said it would not be entirely accurate to say each councilor earns close to €25,000 for the year.
“People like myself, with a full-time job (teacher), are taxed at a different rate, and I get about €8,000 per year, or €160 per week.”
Cllr Looney said the council has started to change in the last year from the current un-vouched to a vouched expenses system, but admits the “details are a bit sketchy at the moment.”
Not including councillors who were co-opted, or stood down from the position during the year, 22 councillors earned less than the average €25,713 figure, including Cllr Looney.
The full 2017 list is available here.