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Review could see TDs recommend cuts to their own allowances

The Public Accounts Committee is to review allowances paid to ministers and others – and could ask for them to be cut.

Fianna Fáil's John McGuinness says his Public Accounts Committee may make recommendations to cut political allowances alongside its review of other public sector payments.
Fianna Fáil's John McGuinness says his Public Accounts Committee may make recommendations to cut political allowances alongside its review of other public sector payments.
Image: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

THE DÁIL COMMITTEE responsible for scrutinising public spending is to undertake a review of allowances paid to ministers and other politicians – and could recommend cuts to them in the forthcoming budget.

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) will review political allowances at a public meeting this Tuesday, with the possibility that allowances paid to members of the Dáil or Seanad for holding certain roles may be abolished or cut back.

The review of political allowances coincides with a broader review being undertaken by the committee on the 1,100 allowances paid to employees in the public sector – with only one of those allowances scrapped following a review undertaken earlier this year by Brendan Howlin.

The committee chairman, Fianna Fáil’s John McGuinness, said the committee felt it could not exclude political allowances when it agreed to undertake a comprehensive review of the allowances paid to others whose wages are footed by the public.

“We don’t intend to act as judge and jury in our own case,” McGuinness told TheJournal.ie this afternoon, “but the PAC in reviewing allowances should also review allowances paid to politicians, and then maybe allow some independent commentary on the allowances that are being paid.”

McGuinness said the committee had hired an independent consultant to help it put together its report on allowances in an impartial way. “Our of our deliberations may very well come some recommendations,” he said.

The committee aims to complete its examination of allowances and to have a report published in November. McGuinness said it would then be up to the government to decide on how to act.

Any recommendation made by the committee would carry substantial weight, however, as the committee is made up of members from all political parties and is traditionally chaired by a member of the opposition – meaning there may not be much political resistance to any cuts it recommends.

Read: Howlin looking at incorporating public sector allowances into core pay

More: Oireachtas members paid €764k allowances for month without sittings

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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