Former lord mayor hits out at criticism of €120k package

The lord mayor of Cork’s predecessor has defended the remuneration paid to the current incumbent and said criticism of the salary are “old news”.

In a letter published in yesterday’s Evening Echo, Cllr Kenneth O’Flynn (FF) said the role of lord mayor had become “redundant” and was nothing more than a ceremonial figure “which costs the State €120,000 a year in remuneration”.

That total includes a lord mayor’s allowance of €92,000 and €16,000 in representative allowances.

The outgoing lord mayor of Dublin received an allowance of over €65,000 for the year, while the mayor of Limerick receives €50,000 for that role.

Mr O’Flynn called for the position of lord mayor of Cork to become directly elected by the people. “This would remove the grip the larger parties have on the position and radically change the way local politics operates in this country.”

He wants “the entire management of the city emanating from the mayor’s office”. Mr O’Flynn said a salary of about €55,000 would be “about right”.

While the current lord mayor, John Buttimer, was unavailable for comment last night, his predecessor, Terry Shannon, said the debate was “old news” and a “red herring”.

He said the salary came up every year at the council’s budget meeting but the elected representatives decided several years ago to align the role to the salary of a senior position in the civil service. As such it had declined “considerably”.

Mr Shannon said nobody sought the office because of the salary but added that it was a full time position, meaning the office-holder must stop working for the year. He justified the higher salary in Cork than for Limerick and Dublin by saying Cork was a bigger city than Limerick and that in Dublin the role came with associated perks such as the Mansion House.

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