Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

11.41 13 Aug 2020


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Councillors 'aren't being paid properly', according to a former Lord Mayor of Dublin.

Councillor Nial Ring has suggested he and his colleagues are not being paid enough for the work they do.

The debate over councillors' pay has been reignited after South Dublin County Councillor William Priestley resigned his seat last month, pointing to poor pay and conditions.

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The Green Party politician suggested "you know you’re in trouble when the emergency COVID payment is more than you wages".

Currently, councillors receive a basic salary of around €17,000 per year, with some councillors having an extra allowance for serving on an area committee.

A recent report prepared for the Government has recommended the salary for local representatives be increased to €25,000, with ministers pledging to implement the recommendations.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, Cllr Ring said he doesn't believe councillors are currently being paid enough.

Councillors aren't being paid enough, former Dublin Lord Mayor says

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He argued: "It’s not right to do comparisons, but most people in my constituency for example… they don’t distinguish between a TD and a councillor when they’re looking for something.

“You look at a TD who gets a salary of just under €100,000 - and we get €17,000. Interestingly enough, that’s what more or less they were trying to give super junior ministers recently just as an increase to their salary.

“We’re not being paid properly - we’re not being paid for what we do. It weakens local government by not attracting people - you’re not getting a reflective mix of people coming in to local government."

He said that while corporate governance is an important part of the job, councillors also find themselves looking after constituents.

Cllr Ring said most people who go into local politics do so to "give something back to the community".

'Part-time position'

Kenneth O’Flynn, Independent Councillor for Cork City, doesn't agree that his colleagues in local authorities need a pay rise.

He said: “The position is a part time position - the position is there solely to be the corporate governance of the city or county council that you’re a member of.

“The reality is that I knew the first day applying for the job of being a member of Cork City Council what the family was. For someone to come along, be elected and say they can’t live on it… it amazes me.”

Cllr O'Flynn acknowledged that many people put in more work than 24 hours a week.

However, he reiterated that the reality is that councillors know what the salary and role is - and that the system has worked fine in the past.

He said people will find a way if they want to get involved if they want to, pointing to the example of lots of teachers being involved in councils right across the country.

He suggested: “You’re interested in helping people, you’re interested in helping people’s lives… politics should not be seen as a gravy train."

Main image: File photo of Nial Ring. Picture: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

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