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Saturday 23 September 2023 Dublin: 15°C
David Jones/PA Wire Franking allowance is under threat
# Allowances
Public Sector Allowances: The ones they *might* change
These allowances still stand but might be modified for future appointees: Secretaries to ministers and taoisigh; giving advice on keeping people safe on winter roads; taxi allowances and more…

THE DEPARTMENT OF Public Expenditure and Reform today announced its review of the various allowances currently claimed by members of the public service.

The review breaks down its recommendations on the necessity of these allowances into three sections: Those they recommend be kept and given to new workers, those they recommend be modified in some way for future employees – and those that they think should no longer be given to new employees.

Almost 1,000 allowances are in place, according to figures from the department. Minister Brendan Howlin said today that his department will not realise the savings of €75m it had hoped to make by reforming the allowance system.

The following are just some the public service allowances which the department would like to see modified in future (for new appointees):

Taoiseach’s department:

  • The following allowances are being looked at for review – and allowance to the private secretary to the Taoiseach (currently €24,427); private secretary to ministers (€20,685); private secretary to head of Department (€10,951). Those allowances are for “additional attendance outside hours, additional expenses and the particular nature and demands of the position”.

No overtime is paid to those secretaries.

Cross-sectoral (including civil service):

  • As well as franking, there are driving, paperkeeper, machine duties, switchboard, clothing, uniform, travel time and supervisory cleaners’ allowances all under review


  • Allowances for those seconded to implement national initiatives
  • Allowance payable to teachers for supervision and substitution duties
  • Allowance paid to non-professional Head of School, department or discipline at universities


  • Daily subsistence to personnel participating on a residential course outside the State
  • Annual diving allowance to personnel qualified in diving
  • Reserve Defence allowance
  • The instructors’ allowance paid to non-commissioned officers filling appointments in military college and training centres.
  • The allowance paid for holders of certain appointments at the Reserve Defence Forces
  • The allowance paid to special instructors
  • Allowance paid to those on call at Portlaoise Hospital

State Industrials:

  • Travel time allowance
  • Taxi allowance


  • Allowance to sergeants who are appointed as court presenters (they are permanently attached to the courts offices and are not in a position to earn rostered unsocial hours’ allowances)
  • The allowance paid to those performing non-public duties e.g. inside sports stadiums. It is usually paid out of the fee invoiced to the organisation involved e.g. the GAA
  • The Reward Allowance presented  by the Minister for Justice and Minister for Finance

Local government:

  • Acting (substitution)
  • Ice cast (RSA’s Road Weather Information System to assist local authorities in the management and delivery of each local authority’s winter maintenance activities)


  • Clinical directors’ allowance
  • Location allowance and specialist qualification allowance
  • GP trainee allowance
  • Acting Up allowance (this means carrying out duties beyond your pay grade)

Irish Prisons Service:

  • Governor allowances
  • Duty allowances for deputy governors and chief officers
  • Instructor, school, gate, reception, environment, search, dog-handling allowances
  • On-call allowances


  • Callout allowance for provincial district courts and flexibility/on-call allowances for district courts and forensic scientists

Agriculture, Food and Marine:

  • Meat inspection and beef carcass classification
  • Vet in charge allowance and vet inspector on-call allowance
  • Rendering plant allowance

Social Protection dept:

  • Benefit-in-kind mileage and some on-call allowances

Road Safety Authority:

  • Training officer allowance

Chester Beatty Library:

  • Allowance for audio-visual duties and dealing with post

National Library:

  • Early and late hours allowance
  • Science and arts attendant allowance

Ordinance Survey Ireland:

  • Driving allowance

Inland fisheries:

  • Unsocial working hours allowance for all sorts of inspectors, advisors and officers

Shannon Development:

  • For working unsocial hours

Enterprise Ireland:

  • Overseas at weekend allowance

National Transport Authority:

  • Irregular hours allowance for taxi compliance officers

National Museum of Ireland:

  • Camera, security, yard, telephonist and “In charge” allowances

See the full document showing the case being made for 800 or so public sector allowances>

Read: The public sector allowances they want to keep>

Read: The public sector allowances they want to abolish>

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