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€10 Million Good Bye Fund For Councillors Rejected In June Elections

maurice-hickey-2City and County Council Candidates who are not returned to office in the forthcoming June local elections, will reap a tax-free lump sum of up to €70,000.

City and County Councillors who fail to be re-elected in June next will be paid a tax-free sum to a maximum of €70,416 each out of a €10m goodbye fund set up to compensate them.  All non-returned councillors, aged 50 and over, will automatically qualify for immediate payment, whether or not they stand for re-election.

Councillors who have served since the 1999 local election will get about €30,000, while representatives with 20 years’ service or more will qualify for the maximum payment of over €70,000.  Approximately 10% of the city and county councillors will qualify for the maximum payment.

They will be entitled to €3,300 a year for each year that they have served since 2000 and a reduced amount for any years prior.

Individual payments to councillors with 20 years’ service will exceed the retirement lump sums payable to local authority public servants without a requirement to make any pension contributions whatsoever, even though local representation is not regarded as paid employment.

This little backhander will be double the present average industrial wage but conveniently falls just short of the €75,000 benchmark for the 4% levy. Sitting Councillors did not have to make any contribution towards this gratuity, whereas for others there is a contribution of 6.5%.

Note: In addition to their €17,604 representational allowance, councillors also claim expenses.

Amendments made in 2006 by then Minister for Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Dick Roche, lowered this minimum qualifying period for this lump sum payment from three years’ service to two years’ service.

This news will, no doubt, greatly comfort tax payers, not to mention the unfortunate and beleaguered Fianna Fáil politicians, who are currently experiencing extreme irritation on the doorstep from their angered constituents. It would appear the latter mistakenly blame them for the ruination of the Irish economy.

If this €10,000 compensation package were to be refused by some 900 locally-elected politicians, presently sitting on County and City councils, this good bye fund would:

  1. Re-allocate  subsidies to elderly people, thus securing their homes against burglary, recently abolished by the Minister for Finance, in this month’s budget.
  2. Twice finance the State’s abandoned plan to immunise teenage girls against cervical cancer.
  3. Finance, three times, the savage cuts to local and regional road maintenance in Co.Tipperary, which was slashed by almost €4 million this week.

Currently this country is borrowing 1 million Euros every thirty minutes, but I suppose another five hours will make little difference.

On Sunday last, a defiant Taoiseach, Brian Cowan urged his party to unite behind him and in an impassioned rally call, invoking the Easter Rising as an example of sacrifice for the national good, he stated:

“Today is a timely reminder of the sacrifice others have made in the past for their fellow Irish-men and women. We should be prepared to look at the wider common good during this difficult time for this country”

Interesting to see how many potential national patriots will emerge from within the ranks of our City and County Councillors.

Is it time to cancel Local Council Elections and appoint our Maurice Hickey types (apologies to Pat Shortt) by using the interview process, like any other curriculum vitae carrying employee, destined for the echelons of the Board Room?.

Your comments please.

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