Ex-councillors receive golden handshake on joining Dáil

New TD Sean Canney served on Galway County Council.

New junior minister Sean Canney is among a dozen former county and city councillors who will receive golden handshake payments from the local authorities after securing Dáil seats in February.

Furthermore, TDs who quit local authorities to take their place in Leinster House will receive the gratuity payments when they turn 50, provided they served on the authority for at least two years, under local government legislation.

Mr Canney, who served on Galway County Council prior to his election to the Dáil, is entitled to a payment of €38,821.

Others who have received or who are due payments include Fianna Fáil’s Eugene Murphy, who will be paid €63,035 by Roscommon County Council; Galway West Independent Catherine Connolly who got €53,558 from the city council; Fianna Fáil’s Pat Casey, who was paid €39,175 by Wicklow County Council; and People Before Profit TD Brid Smith, who received €22,263 from Dublin City Council.

Anti-Austerity Alliance TD Mick Barry, who was paid €28,895 in recognition of his 12 years on Cork City Council, said after his election success he did not believe councillors who go on to become TDs should benefit from gratuities.

Mr Barry said he will use the payment to establish a solidarity fund for community causes.

The other new TDs to received payments, yet to be calculated, are Fianna Fáil’s Declan Breathnach (Louth), John Brassil (Kerry), John Lahart (Dublin South West), Fiona O’Loughlin (Kildare South), and Kevin O’Keeffe (Cork East), along with Independent TD Danny Healy-Rae (Kerry).

The Department of Local Government said the gratuity was calculated “on the basis of 4/20ths of a councillor’s representational payment for each year of service from May 2000, subject to a maximum 20 years’ service”.

Further legislation introduced in 2006 provided for an additional ex-gratia payment to councillors serving on, or after the date of the making of the new regulations, in respect of their service before May 2000. The rates depend on the number of years’ service and the category of local authority in which the councillor served.

The department said the rate of payment is set at €714.23 for each year of service up to 20 years’ service with a county council or a county borough corporation, and half the rate for service with a borough corporation or urban district council. A quarter of the rate will apply for service as a town commissioner.

“For service in excess of 20 years prior to May 2000, the foregoing rates are reduced by one third for each additional year of service up to 20 years,” the department said.


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