February 14: Time ‘new politics’ embraced change

Deputies Niall Collins TD and Patrick O'Donovan TDhave both earned over half a million in salary and expenses since the last election
Over €1 million has been paid out to two TDs in the Limerick constituency since the general election in 2011 according to figures released by the Oireachtas and collated by RTÉ Investigations unit, covering all payments from the period March 2011 to July 2014. Figures reveal two Limerick TDs had combined pay and expenses totalling €1,036,858 which equates to an average of €518,429 each after a 41-month period in office. Top earner, Patrick O’Donovan’s (FG), basic pay came to €65,443.50, supplemented by a 2013 expenses of €29,770.37 bringing his combined salaries and expenses to €518,891.05 placing him in the ‘half a million euro bracket’.

Over €1 million has been paid out to two TDs in the Limerick constituency since the general election in 2011 according to figures released by the Oireachtas and collated by RTÉ Investigations unit, covering all payments from the period March 2011 to July 2014. Figures reveal two Limerick TDs had combined pay and expenses totalling €1,036,858 which equates to an average of €518,429 each after a 41-month period in office. Top earner, Patrick O’Donovan’s (FG), basic pay came to €65,443.50, supplemented by a 2013 expenses of €29,770.37 bringing his combined salaries and expenses to €518,891.05 placing him in the ‘half a million euro bracket’.

Joining him as second highest earner was Niall Collins FF with a basic pay of €65,443.50 plus 2013 expenses of €29,575 with combined pay and expenses totalling €517,966.96. The RTE website makes no mention of expenses incurred for Dan Neville TD. Yet, Dublin South-West TD Eamonn Maloney chose to claim no expenses. Figures reveal 166 TDs were paid €78 million, an average of around €470,000 each which equates to around €138,000 per year in salary, taxable allowances and expenses.

A TD’s basic salary before expenses stands at €87,258 down from €92,672. At year end, politicians can repay expenses not spent and a large number choose to make such repayments each year. Seven out of 12 Oireachtas members subjected to a random audit were ordered to repay expenses. Since the Dáil resumed, TDs are buoyed up on ‘election footing’ and it is time for new politics to embrace real change.

Gerry Coughlan

Parkhill West, Kilnamanagh, Dublin 24