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Report shows independent TDs get less state funding

Independent TD Catherine Murphy has pulled together figures to illustrate the resource disadvantage of non-party TDs.

Catherine Murphy's report is aimed at highlighting the disparity in state funding for party members and independents.
Catherine Murphy's report is aimed at highlighting the disparity in state funding for party members and independents.
Image: Photocall Ireland

TDS BELONGING to political parties receive up to three times more state funding for their activities than independent members, a report from one such TD has suggested.

Kildare-based independent Catherine Murphy has compiled a report showing the funding parties receive through their ‘party leaders’ allowance’ on top of their exchequer funding, illustrating that TDs from larger parties receive far more resources.

When both sources of funding are included, and then divided among the number of TDs that each party has, Fianna Fáil receives the highest amount – at over €121,000 per TD, more than the wage that each of its 19 TDs are actually paid.

Sinn Féin’s funding, for having 14 TDs, is only slightly lower, at €119,795 per member.

Curiously, Fine Gael – by far the largest party in the Dáil – receives the least funding per TD, at €59,017 each. However, the size of FG’s Dáil grouping means the party is also entitled to more state-funded staff, at 26, than any other party.

This is because current rules on state funding prescribe certain thresholds beyond which the funding per member is lowered, and also takes into account that parties in government have extra resources at their disposal.

Murphy’s report is designed to showcase that independent TDs receive significantly less resources from the state than their party affiliated colleagues.

The only state funding received by independent TDs is the annual ‘leaders’ allowance’ of €41,152, paid on the premise that each TD is treated as if they are the leader of a one-TD party.

This payment, however, is lower than the equivalent payment to a single TD from a government party (€47,680) or an opposition party (€71,520).

Members of the Public Accounts Committee were yesterday told that public expenditure minister Brendan Howlin, whose department is responsible for most political funding, is open to suggestions from members as to how that system should be amended.

Read: Government blocks Seanad move to abolish unvouched independents’ allowance

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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