WATERFORD’S councillors are likely to be given a pay rise of around €8,000 each next year.
City and county councillors are paid €17,060 a year, in addition to unvouched expenses of between €2,286 and €2,667, and vouched expenses up to €5,000.
A Government-commissioned report by Senior Counsel Sara Moorhead, due soon, is expected to recommend an €8,000 increase to the payment of all councillors. If approved it will add more than €250,000 to the annual cost of running Waterford’s City and County Council which has 32 elected members.
There are 949 councillors in Ireland, meaning that the predicted pay rise will cost taxpayers more than €7.5 million a year.
Ms Moorhead has been working on the report since June 2018 after repeated concerns were raised over pay levels among councillors and whether they should be increased.
councillors shouldn’t be the worst paid people in the room
The report was initially due in March. However, it has been delayed until the end of the year, due in part to the difficulty of comparing councillors’ pay with that of other public servants.
Minister of State for Local Government, Ferrybank TD John Paul Phelan, has stipulated that any increase will have to be balanced against rival public sector demands.
He told the Oireachtas Committee on Local Government that any increase must first be discussed at wider public sector pay talks.
TDs and senators on the committee challenged Mr Phelan on whether he would commit to pay increases for councillors.
He said that he, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and public expenditure minister Paschal Donohoe “agree that councillors shouldn’t be the worst paid people in the room when it comes to local authority staff.”