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A review of the first year of Michael D Higgins' second term as president has been published.
A review of the first year of Michael D Higgins' second term as president has been published.
Image: Sam Boal/

Áras spending increases as more and more people turn 100 and receive €2,540 payment

A total of 481 Irish people received the Centenarian Bounty last year.
Mar 5th 2020, 9:20 AM 27,987 38

THERE HAS BEEN a marked increase in the number of Irish people living until 100 and receiving a message from the President and payment of €2,540.

A review of the presidency and spending at Áras an Úachtraráin for 2019 has revealed details of the Centenarian Bounty, which was first introduced in 1940 by President Douglas Hyde.

The review shows that 481 Irish people received the payment from the State last year, with 374 of those people living in Ireland and 107 living overseas. 

In 2006, the government to extended the eligibility criteria for the scheme so that all Irish citizens born on the island of Ireland are eligible to apply.

Of those 481 Irish citizens who reached 100 years old, 395 were women and 86 were men. 

The overall figure is comfortably the highest recorded since the beginning of President Michael D Higgins’ time in Áras and Úachtaráin. 

In a review of his first term published last year, an average of 392 Irish people a year turned 100 and benefited from the Centenarian Bounty. 

The increase in number has seen the overall cost of the Centenarian Bounty rise over that time, from €954,000 in 2012 to €1,258,000 last year. 

As well as the once-off payment and message from the president when they turn 100, on each subsequent birthday Irish citizens also receive a commemorative coin in a presentation box and a letter from the president.. 

Arás costs

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Overall, total expenditure by Áras an Úachtaráin was €3,565,000 last year, up from €3,499,000 in 2018.

The biggest single cost within that was salaries wages and allowances at €1,712,000, with the Centenarian Bounty the second-largest cost. 

Details of expenditure within Áras an Úachtaráin also gives details of how the €317,000 annual presidential allowance was spent last year. 

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The allowance prompted controversy before President Higgins’ re-election in 2018 with some politicians requesting more oversight of its spending

From November 2018 to December 2019, a total of €175,226 was spent on food and beverages,  €118,573 was spent on hospitality and €13,875 was spent on transport. 

Other costs were also incurred by postage and stationery,  while € 13,764 was spent on Representing Ireland Abroad. 

Overall, €334,748 was spent over the 14-month period with an unspent surplus of €35,592.

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Rónán Duffy


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