CATHOLIC PRIESTS IN the Dublin diocese have been told their incomes will be cut by 9 per cent this year, after having already dropped by 6 per cent last year.
The cut is due to falling returns from church collections which provide for the salaries of priests in the area.
Priests were informed of the cut by a letter sent from the Archbishop’s House, the administrative centre for the diocese, this week.
The basic income for a priest in the diocese is now €24,079 per year, plus up to €2,820 for years of service, for a maximum of €26,899. The basic figure has dropped by more than €4,000 in the past two years. Priests are often also provided with accommodation for their work.
Priests’ salaries are provided for by the first collection at Sunday masses, as well as Christmas and Easter dues. The money collected goes into a common fund, which pays for nursing homes, health insurance and housing for sick and retired priests. The remainder is used to pay the salaries of priests in the diocese.
“When people give more to this fund priests get more; when it goes down they get less”, said a spokesperson for the Dublin diocese. The fund is run by a committee of priests.
The recession and the myriad child sex abuse scandals in the church have led to a sharp decrease in the amount collected, with the diocese estimating that donations have fallen by 16 per cent in the past three years.
Diarmuid Martin, the Archbishop of Dublin, is meeting with representatives from parishes throughout the diocese this week, according to the spokesperson.
“The Archdiocese, like many other organisations in these difficult times, is conducting a wide ranging review of all its finances in an attempt to determine what services and projects it is in a position to fund and plan for into the future, and all expenditure and income is being examined thoroughly,” said the spokesperson.