Ministers cost €27m since election

Catherine Murphy and Róisín Shortall, two of the lowest-paid TDs, with Stephen Donnelly at the launchof their new party, the Social Democrats.

The majority of TDs cost the taxpayer more than half a million euro each in pay and expenses in under four years, while TDs who are also ministers have received, on average, €631,000.

Top earner is Taoiseach Enda Kenny who was paid more than €780,000 in TD’s salary, Taoiseach’s allowance, and expenses from the general election in March 2011 to December 2014.

However, nine ministers also broke the €700,000 barrier. In descending order they were: Simon Coveney, Jimmy Deenihan, Leo Varadkar, Phil Hogan, James Reilly, Michael Noonan, Brendan Howlin, Joan Burton, and Eamon Gilmore.

The figures have been compiled by the RTÉ Investigations Unit, which has created an interactive database at www.rte.ie/iu for members of the public to check the earnings of all TDs and ministers.

While the highest earners have at least minister of state, ceann comhairle or leas ceann comhairle status, some TDs without additional office have earnings close to ministerial level.

Cork North West’s Michael Moynihan of Fianna Fáil tops the list with total earnings of €556,062 over the four years, followed closely by Cork South Central’s Ciarán Lynch of Labour on €555,658.

A third Cork TD, Fine Gael’s Jerry Buttimer, also makes the top-10 earners list which otherwise features Pat Breen from Clare; John McGuinness, Carlow-Kilkenny; Seán O’Fearghail, Kildare South; Frank Feighan, Roscommon-South Leitrim; Joe Carey, Clare; John Browne, Wexford and Padraig McLochlainn, Donegal North East.

Apart from the five TDs who were elected in by-elections and had not served the full four years, the lowest-earning TD is Labour’s Eamonn Maloney from Dublin South West, who has a policy of not claiming expenses and who earned €326,410.

The rest of the lowest 10 is dominated by Dublin TDs, Labour, Independents, and small parties. They are: Robert Dowds, Kevin Humphreys, Róisín Shortall, Lucinda Creighton, Olivia Mitchell, Shane Ross, Catherine Murphy, Joe Higgins, and Eoghan Murphy.

In all, 60% of the 166 members of the Dáil earned more than €500,000 and ministers between them received a total of €27.76m.

Shaun Connolly: 17


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