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In numbers: the PAC's report on reviewing public allowances

The Public Accounts Committee published a report this week on reviewing public allowances. Here’s some of its figures.

Young teachers attend a demonstration last month seeking equal pay with older counterparts. Many younger teachers are not entitled to the same allowances as older colleagues receive.
Young teachers attend a demonstration last month seeking equal pay with older counterparts. Many younger teachers are not entitled to the same allowances as older colleagues receive.
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

THIS WEEK the Dáil’s spending watchdog released a significant report after seven weeks of hearings on public sector allowances – making a series of recommendations on how public money might be better and more appropriately allocated.

The Public Accounts Committee’s full report can be read here, but the following is a selection of the stand-out numbers from that report.

292,000 – The number of people currently on the public payroll. That’s down from 320,000 as of the end of 2008, and could be down to 285,000 next year.

8 per cent – The total proportion of public pay which is taken up by allowances. Allowances cost about €1.4 billion in 2011. Education allowances cost almost half of this, and accounts for about a third of the overall total of 1,100 allowances.

€244.86 – The weekly wage of a private in the Permanent Defence Force, the lowest-paid member of the public service.

82 per cent – The proportion of public servants who earn under €60,000 a year.

40 per cent - The proportion of public servants who earn less than €40,000 a year, including allowances.

€27 million – The annual bill for allowances which will not be paid to new appointees to the public service.

€395 million – The annual cost of the 235 allowances which will continue to be paid to those who served at a grade prior to February 2012, but which will not be continued.

98 – The number of allowances which will now be the subject of “intense negotiations” as the government looks for early elimination. This process is to be finished by February.

5 – The number of recommendations of the report, which are as follows:

  • That universal allowances which are paid to every member of a pay grade to simply be incorporated into core pay;
  • That the number of allowances be consolidated;
  • That the ‘long tail’ of allowances where small payments are made to small numbers of staff, be replaced by more generic allowances;
  • That all expenses (including those paid to Oireachtas members) be vouched for;
  • That the level and payment of allowances for Oireachtas members be determined by an independent body.

9,053 – The number of recipients of of the ‘Military Service Allowance’ – which is paid to almost all staff under the aegis of the Department of Defence, costing €52.7 million per year. 4,654 staff also receive ‘technical pay’ worth a total of €7.7 million.

€4,468,257.56 – The amount that will be saved by scrapping the Border Duty Allowance – the single biggest saving being achieved at the Department of Defence. It is currently paid to 761 staff.

120 – The number of days for which a member of the Dáil or Seanad needs to be in attendance at Leinster House in order to become entitled to the full complement of travel and accommodation allowances.

€1,388,913 – The unvouched payments made to Oireachtas members for ‘public representation’ and secretarial allowances.

16 per cent – The portion of the overall teaching pay bill which is accounted for by allowances.

41,500 – The number of teaching staff who receive the ‘supervision and substitution’ allowance, which costs a total of €118 million.

4,829 – The number of teachers earning the long service allowance, for having worked for over 35 years, which costs €11 million a year.

€3.15 million – The amount that will be saved by removing the ‘teaching through Irish’ allowance paid to teachers. This accounts for over a third of the €9 million savings from the Department of the Environment.

93.8 per cent – The proportion of staff from the Irish Prison Service who receive operation and rent allowances. 3,218 of the 3,429 personnel at the service receive each payment.

€1.3 million – The amount to be saved by withdrawing clerical allowance from the Gardaí who receive it.

30.38 per cent – The proportion of a Garda sergeant’s gross pay which comes from allowances and overtime.

2.6 per cent – The proportion of the total HSE pay bill which is made up by allowances (€166.5 million of €6.4 billion).

8,765 – The number of HSE employees who are receiving an ‘acting-up allowance’, in lieu of actually having been appointed to a superior position, at an annual cost of €17.7 million.

€7.95 million – The amount the HSE had, until recently, paid to consultants in allowances for them to continue their medical education.

Read: PAC report: System of public sector allowances ‘not fit for purpose’

Want more? Check out our previous ‘In numbers’ pieces>

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About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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