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Shoes, health insurance top ups and school fees - public service allowances revealed

Millions in school fees and cost of living expenses are paid to those posted overseas, while details of allowances paid across many of the departments have been revealed.

DETAILS OF ALLOWANCES paid to some civil servants in various government departments have revealed that millions are paid to those posted overseas for school fees and the cost of living.

The figures also show that most departments afford service officers a €65 shoe allowance for outdoor duties and that press officers in the Department of the Taoiseach recieve five hours of overtime paid at double time every week for “on-call” services.

The allowances have been revealed in response to a series of parliamentary questions tabled by Fianna Fáil spokesperson on public expenditure and reform.

A total of over €2.3 million is paid to staff – 325 at any one time –  from the Department of Foreign Affairs in cost of living allowances, while the Children’s Foreign Allowance, which compensates officers for additional costs incurred with regard to their children in full time education, comes in at €709,000.

In some circumstances school fees assistance is also paid at an estimated cost of over €1 million per annum.

Some protocol and Government press office staff are entitled to an annual clothing allowance of €444 per year while some departments pay a child allowance of just over €2 a week to staff who have worked in the civil service since before 1978. This is paid until the child is 21 if they remain in full time education.

Many departments emphasised that allowances are currently under review by the Department of Expenditure and Public Reform , while the Department for Social Protection emphasised that the “great majority of the department’s staff do not receive any of these allowances”.

Other allowances include:

  • Health insurance top-up for Department of Foreign Affairs officers working abroad: €811,000 collectively per annum
  • Private secretary allowance for the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform: €188 – €792 per fortnight
  • Driving allowance for the Department of Social Protection: €43 per week
  • On call allowance for the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht: €19 per week, additional €48.75 per callout
  • Explosive ordnance duty allowance for members of the Defence Forces: €92.57 per day

Here’s an example of some of the allowances paid to staff in the Department of the Taoiseach:


€26 million: The annual bill for sick leave in the public service>

About the author:

Emer McLysaght

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