Amendments to Councillors’ Conditions: Statements
Senator Mark Daly: I thank the Minister for coming to the House. I have to reflect the views of the people who have contacted me and say that there is grave disappointment regarding the offer that is on the table. In many counties and in many cases, even with what is on the table people will be €5,000 worse off than they were five years ago.
The feedback I am getting is that the fixed allowance, which is obviously an increase in many instances, should continue under the current system, and the €1,000 under the municipal district payment, while welcome, is discriminating against Galway, Cork and Dublin, as my colleague has pointed out. The Minister has explained it, but that is the feeling that exists and we should have equity wherever we go.
The Association of Irish Local Government and the Local Government Members Association have engaged with the Minister, as have many Senators and other public representatives, but what they are looking for is fairness. When one looks at the overall issue regarding their payments compared with Northern Ireland and England, Scotland and Wales, there is not the same parity of esteem, to use a term from the peace process, when it comes to public representatives at a local level here. If we want public representatives to continue in the role across the country then we must ensure that we give them the payments and the supports that will ensure they will be there. Otherwise we will have mass retirements as happened in Dublin City Council, when in one year, 20% of the councillors retired because of pressure of work in one election term.