The council chamber in Lifford
Donegal’s 37 county councillors are set to get a big pay increase in 2022.
Their pay for serving on the council - known as a “representational payment” will increase by just under 40% from €18,707 per year to more than €26,000 a year.
Approval for the increase was sanctioned earlier this year by the Cabinet which took into account the recommendations of the independent review by Sara Moorhead, published in 2020.
Since then, there has been a further increase in the amount they will get as part of the rise in public sector pay rates from October 1.
The country’s 949 councillors, who sit on 31 local authorities, will be eligible for the pay hike which will cost an additional €9 million per year nationally.
This year the total cost of the representational payment to councillors in Donegal was €696,122. According to the council’s Draft Revenue Budget for 2022 the cost will rise to €994,264 next year. The council’s budget meeting is scheduled to take place this Thursday.
Councillors’ expenses for 2022 are forecast to increase to €541,700 from €511,700 this year. This works out at an average of just around €14,640 per councillor, but payments can vary considerably due to travel requirements. A sum of €36,000 is being allocated for chair and vice-chair allowances.
Many councillors’ incomes are also supplemented by payments and expenses for serving on other non-council committees.
The increase was long sought by the country's elected councillors who argued that their workload had increased substantially and better pay was required to attract candidates to local politics.
The 2021 Draft Revenue Budget also proposes an allocation of €18,000 for attendance at conferences abroad, the same as in 2021.
Buncrana native, Councillor Nicholas Crossan is the President of the Association of Irish Local Government, which represents elected members and their local authorities.
Meanwhile, as part of its efforts to remove the barriers that currently exist for women in politics, the AILG has revealed proposals to provide maternity leave for councillors.
Currently councillors are not entitled to the normal maternity/paternity leave provisions from their local authority as would be afforded to employees.
The lack of proper maternity leave provision for councillors has long been identified by AILG as a major barrier for retaining current female councillors and attracting greater participation, especially by women, at local government level.
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