The Cabinet is set to approve an €8,000-a-year pay increase for the country’s 947 city and county councillors, thecan reveal.
The proposal, which was recommended in the 2019 Moorhead review of councillor pay, was committed to in the programme for government.
Under the changes, unvouched expenses for local politicians are to end and be replaced with a verified costs system and audits in all councils.
The programme for government committed to the €8,000 pay increase within the Coalition’s first year in office. Councillors currently earn €17,600 a year for “significantly more than [the] 18.5 hours” of work a week set out in the Moorhead report on the role and salary of councillors.
Some studies showed councillors work 32.5 hours a week and many who departed politics cited low pay as a primary reason.
Ministers will also approve new measures which will exempt community radio stations from paying the broadcasting levy.
Arts and media minister Catherine Martin is seeking approval to integrate the previous Broadcasting (Amendment) Bill into the new Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill.
It is understood that, once integrated, the Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill will exempt community radio stations from paying the industry broadcasting levy. It is intended under the new legislation that about €500,000 will be made available by the media commission, when it is established, to support 20 annual bursaries of €25,000 each.
Stakeholders have been informed that the Government urgency attached to the Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill means the provisions are likely to be enacted earlier than if the Broadcasting (Amendment) Bill continued as a standalone piece of legislation.
An addition to the bill, as previously flagged, will remove the hourly limits in respect of advertising minutes on commercial radio stations, but will still retain the overall daily limit of 15% total daily broadcasting time.
A further addition will ensure the prominence of public service content on audiovisual media services, so content is easily findable and discoverable for audiences by requiring the commission to develop appropriate rules on various services.
This should guarantee channels such as RTÉ, TG4, or Virgin Media 1 prominence on supply services, such as Sky or Virgin Media.
The Cabinet will also discuss the report of the tourism recovery taskforce.
The taskforce has argued that travel from Britain should resume by July, while about €1bn in extra revenue and 50,000 jobs could be generated by reopening the State to holidaymakers during the summer.