DCSIMG

Limerick Council faces €750,000 bill to pay off former members

The highest settlement to be paid out is to the former mayor Pat Kennedy, who will earn �63,968

The highest settlement to be paid out is to the former mayor Pat Kennedy, who will earn �63,968

  • by Nick Rabbitts
 

LIMERICK Councillors who have lost their seats or retired are in line for severance pay totalling a combined €750,000.

Limerick City and County Council have only set aside €546,000 for the payoffs scheme, which means it will have to find more than €200,000 from other sources to plug the gaps.

The gratuity payments follow a complex formula based on the current representational payment of €16,724 annually, plus the number of years served.

Councillors elected before the year 2000 are also entitled to extra ex-gratia payments based on the number of years they served prior to the millennium.

The highest settlement to be paid out is to the former mayor Pat Kennedy, who will earn €63,968.

Although he was elected back in 1967, the settlement payments are capped at 40 years.

Fianna Fail’s Eddie Wade will get €61,755 as a recognition of his 35 years service on the County Council.

According to the formula, councillors elected in 1999 will be able to claim €47,514, while the number falls to €33,448 for members elected in 2004.

Younger councillors who lost their seats, or stepped down from local politics - like Labour’s David Moloney - will not get their severance until they reach the age of 50.

Councillors are currently entitled to severance payments if they have spent a minimum of two years on the council.

Meanwhile, there has been a mixed response to proposals from Local Government Minister Phil Hogan to dramatically cut the conditions of councillors.

Incoming councillors are to lose €20,000 each over their give year term, while the new leader of Limerick City and County Council will get €18,000 on top of their regular wage for being a councillor which stands at €16,500.

There will be a similar cut to the Mayor of Limerick’s wage, which currently stands at around €50,000.

Outgoing Cathaoirleach John Sheahan admitted it is a “big change”.

“The Cathaoirleach of the new Limerick City and County authority is going to have a very wide remit. Outside of chairing meetings, the ceremonial part of it, the presence of the Cathaoirleach will be needed in quite a lot of places because they are now the first citizen of the whole authority. This position is far more prestigious than if you take the mayor of the metropolitan area,” he said.

However, he believes that it will not deter people from seeking election in future.

“If you are involved in public life, you are there to make a difference, and if the difference depends on the monetary vale, you should not be there in the first place.”

His counterpart in the city, Mayor Kathleen Leddin, however, said: “I think they should be compensated properly.

“It does take time, it does take money: you give up a lot to be on the council. I don’t think anyone was on the council for the money they were getting: all of them worked extremely hard.

“I don’t think there was one councillor during my time on the council which I could say that sat back.” Anti-Austerity Alliance councillor Cian Prendiville pointed out that the new rate will put the Cathaoirleach at the average industrial wage.

He said the previous salary was “exorbitant”.

But Cllr Kieran O’Hanlon said: “It will cause an enormous reduction in the number of people that can be mayor. If you pay tax and PRSI, you are talking half of it. And you are expected to fund the mayor’s office out of it: the mayor has to pay for receptions, for example.”

PAYOFFS:

Rose Brennan €33,448

Pat C Fitzgerald €16,724

John Egan €16,724

Mike Houlihan €16,724

Damien Riedy €10,034

Jim Long €33,448

Tomas Hannon €36,792

Eddie Wade €61,755

Kathleen Leddin €47,541

Cormac Hurley €47,541

Pat Kennedy €63,968

Kevin Kiely €47,514

Mary Jackman €57,540

Diarmuid Scully €47,541

Leo Walsh €23,413

Orla McLoughlin

-McCarthy €16,724

Denis McCarthy €16,724

Gerry McLoughlin €33,448

Tom Shortt €16,724

Mary Harty €47,541

David Moloney €10,034

David Naughton €53,255

The figures given are approximate, and are based on formulae supplied by LAMA

 

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