MEMBERS of Cork County Council are to get an increase in expenses and a new €1,000 ‘allowance’ from July 1st – just weeks after TDs were granted a €2,700 pay hike.
According to a circular from Local Government Minister Simon Coveney, the increases are because ‘elected members generally now have a broader portfolio of functions, and represent larger local electoral areas, than before.’
The Cork native, and Fine Gael leadership contender, added that the salary boost would ‘further support elected members in performing their statutory functions’.
Cork County Council this week confirmed to The Southern Star that members of the local authority will be entitled to an extra €1,000 ‘allowance’ from July 1st.
‘There will be a new municipal district allowance of €1,000 per annum to reflect additional work carried out, and expenses incurred by elected members within this new structure, which was given statutory effect under the local government reforms of 2014. This allowance will be available to elected members of authorities which have municipal districts.’ It is not believed that members of Cork City Council will be entitled to the extra allowance, as they do not have municipal districts.
But councillors will also be getting an increase in expenses.
Currently, elected members can avail of a fixed allowance to cover expenses, other than travel and subsistence, amounting to between €2,286 and €2,667 every year. Councillors do not need to provide any receipts for these expenses.
However, the new measures now mean that each councillor can choose whether they wish to continue receiving the current unvouched allowance (no receipts) or opt for receipted expenses, which would allow them to claim up to a maximum of €5,000 every year.
They will be able to claim under headings like leaflet and newsletter distribution; web hosting and other related computer costs; hiring rooms for clinics or other meetings; advertising, relating to the performance of duties as an elected member; and purchase of secretarial support.
In total, the councillors could see a possible increase of up to €3,500 a year.
When the Fine Gael leadership battle comes to a vote, members of the parliamentary party, FG party members and FG councillors, will all have a say.