Cost of running Oireachtas doubles since 2004

THE cost of the day- to-day running of the Oireachtas has more than doubled since 2004 while the number of civil servants has increased by more than a third.

According to figures contained in the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission’s submission on cost savings presented to An Bord Snip in April, the cost of administration in the Oireachtas has ballooned from €26.3 million in 2004 to an estimated €59.5m this year.

More than €26m of this estimate was for salaries, wages and allowances in respect of staff.

Over €18.4m was allocated for office machinery and other office supplies, while over €11m was estimated for “incidental” expenses and office premises.

Salaries in respect of TDs and senators also increased, from €19.8m in 2004 to an estimated €24.6m in 2009.

However, the greatest increase in salaries was allocated to secretarial assistant posts, which have increased from €8.9m in 2004 to a staggering €18.7m estimated for this year.

The Houses of the Oireachtas submission also shows a substantial increase in the numbers of political staff employed by members of the Oireachtas.

This submission highlights the number of people employed by individual TDs and members of the Seanad has grown from 209 in 2004 to 350 currently.

In addition, the number of civil servants increased by one-third during the period in question; from 328 in 2004 to 425 this year.

Travel expenses for TDs and senators were estimated at almost €6.5m for 2009 while other expenses and allowances came to more than €8.7m.

In total, the cost of running the Houses of the Oireachtas has increased from €83m in 2004 to a predicted €137.1m for this year.

Despite this, the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission recommended savings of just €6.5m for this year and €11.8m between 2010 and 2012 to An Bord Snip.

This included a reduction in the number of Oireachtas committees, a 25% reduction in members’ travel expenses, a 50% reduction in committee chairmen’s salary allowances and a reduction of 43 staff.

In its report published in July, An Bord Snip recommended annual savings of nearly €8m in the Houses of the Oireachtas and proposed that staffing levels be reduced by 42 positions.

The Houses of the Oireachtas Commission, was set up in January 2004 and is a part of the civil service, independent from Government.

It is responsible for providing services for the running of the Dáil, Seanad and committees and for providing services and facilities to the members of both Houses.


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