Friday 28 October 2016

Taxpayer forks out €27m on ministerial salaries and expenses

Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Former Senator Ivor Callely

Government ministers received more than €27m in taxpayers' money for pay and expenses since the Coalition was formed in 2011.

Enda Kenny is the highest earner, receiving more than €780,000 in pay, expenses and allowances since he was elected Taoiseach.

Current and former ministers, including Simon Coveney, Jimmy Deenihan, Leo Varadkar, Phil Hogan, James Reilly, Brendan Howlin, Joan Burton and Eamon Gilmore, all received more than €700,000 in pay and expenses since taking office. The average amount paid to Government ministers was around €631,000.


Ms Burton did not accept a €15,000 annual allowance she is entitled to as Tanaiste, according to figures obtained by the RTE Investigations Unit.

Ministerial broadband and mobile phones cost €165,608 during the lifetime of the Government, and a further €75,601 was spent on landlines in minister's homes and constituency office. The taxpayer spent more than €1.6m on unvouched mileage costs for minsters.

The mileage bill for ministers increased every year since the last general election - and last year's bill of €473,000 is an almost 17pc increase on 2012.

Ministerial pay has dropped significantly since the widespread public criticism of expenses and salaries paid to office-holders during three consecutive Fianna Fail-led governments.

Outrage over expenses controversies relating to former Ceann Comhairle John O'Donoghue and Senator Ivor Callely led to a massive overhaul of public pay for politicians.

Former Finance Minister Brian Lenihan introduced a new system for filing expenses for elected representatives in 2010.

There have also been a number of pay cuts for politicians since then. A TD's pay has fallen from €92,672 in 2012 to €87,258 in 2014. The additional payment for senior ministers has dropped from just over €76,000 in 2012 to just above €70,000 last year.


Junior ministers' allowance fell from €37,241 to around €34,000 last year. The ministerial allowance is in addition to the wage they receive as a TD.

It was previously revealed the State has paid more than €100m on pay and expenses for TDs and Senators since the current Coalition was formed.

Around €78m of this was paid to TDs for salaries, allowances and expenses, with the rest going to Senators.

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