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Sunday 3 December 2023 Dublin: 4°C
Howard Lake via Flickr/Creative Commons Some parts of the sector have lost their allowance for "telephone duties"

Public Sector Allowances: The ones they want abolished

New appointees in the public/civil sector may no longer get allowances for things you may not have known they were entitled to… like not leaking exam papers and for “night attire”.

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 abolished in future (for new appointees):

In education:

  • Allowance for moving to and living on an island to teach, or for teaching through Irish (although it’s being kept for teaching through Irish at the Military College in the Curragh and current teachers)
  • Allowance to school principals who act as secretary on a Board of Management
  • Allowance for certain Youthreach Personnel and instructors in outdoor education centres or for teaching adult literary, some adult education courses
  • Allowance for academics who have a higher degree, medical qualification than those needed to teach certain courses
  • Allowance given to a staff teacher for advance prep of the summer programme (July scheme) for children with autism and learning disabilities (voluntary managers of the July scheme get to keep this)
  • Stocktaking allowance for teaching and non-teaching employees in schools and telephone allowance to general operatives in schools -for having a telephone in case you need to be contacted out of hours.


  • Rent allowance
  • Clerical allowance
  • Grant for promotion exam
  • Radio, bicycle, transport, locomotion allowance
  • Allowance for motor technician skills


  • Allowance for having midwifery qualification, RGN in the community, being nurse tutor
  • Trainer allowance
  • Second opinion allowance
  • Dual responsibility allowance
  • Special allowance for weekend public holidays
  • Allowance for consultants continuing medical education allowance
  • Living out allowance
  • Community and cardiac allowance


  • Entertainment allowances
  • Chaplain’s housekeeping allowance
  • Underwear and night attire allowance
  • Allowances for NCO account holders
  • Allowance for a health and safety officer
  • Allowance for being editors of Connect and Cosantoir publications

Local government:

  • Dual duties allowances (the only one abolished – according to their own submission, it’s only payable in a small number of cases)



  • Rent allowance
  • Allowance for court escort, laundress, nurse officer allowance, hospital orderly, being a clerk to certain committees
  • Callout allowance
  • Plain clothes (for certain grades)
  • Tuck shop, baker, locking area allowances

Courts service:

  • Chief clerk in circuit offices allowance, HEOs in district courts
  • Family law (in Limerick and Cork CC) and registrar allowances

Legal Aid Board:

  • Managing Solicitor Grade 1 loses allowances

Agriculture, Food and Marine:

  • Special edition allowance, livestock allowance, synchrolift allowance (that’s for operatives of a certain type of shiplift to you and I)
  • Housing allowance for harbourmasters

Office of Public Works:

  • Allowance for sitting on a committee

Taoiseach’s office:

  • Clothing allowance
  • Allowance for the personal assistant to the Taoiseach’s private office (this was an extra allowance to make up for “the demands, heavy workload, confidentiality and responsibility attaching to this post, which involves regular contact with the Chief of Staff and Special Advisers”.)

Chief State Solicitor’s Office:

  • Allowance for the assistant Chief State Solicitor

Central Statistics Office:

  • Bus allowance (this was given to the six full-time passenger counters who worked at Dublin Airport) and travel allowance (this was given to two part-timers in this job who travelled more than five miles to work)
  • Passenger Card Inquiry allowance (This was again to the six full-time passenger enumerators who handed out survey cards to travellers an dhelped them fill them out).



  • Accommodation and chefs allowance


  • Project Office Allowance
  • Allowance for the secretary taking council minutes

Higher Education Authority:

  • Acting allowance


  • Allowances for those carrying out duties higher than their normal grade

State Examinations Commission:

  • Reproduction unit allowance – that’s for clerical staff who typeset exam question papers – it’s to “cover the confidential nature of the work”.

Road Safety Allowance:

  • Bus allowance for three Dublin-based service officers – it was a legacy arrangement from when driver-testing was part of the Dept of Transport and these officers had to bring post from the test centre to the Custom House.


  • Supervisory Higher Duty allowance

Shannon Development:

  • Travel allowance for those staff resident outside Shannon
  • Special allowance for those in senior management


  • Allowance for telephone duties.

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>

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