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TDs' and senators' salaries cost €19m last year - a 4.5% increase from 2017

Gardaí are also investigating one case of fraud in relation to an Oireachtas salary.

Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

THE COST TO the tax-payer of funding the salaries of all TDs and senators in Leinster House last year increased by 4.5% to €19.4 million. 

That’s according to the 2018 annual report of the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission where the total gross bill for all Oireachtas activities in 2018 totalled €134.35 million.

The spend represents a €21.66 million – or 19% – increase on the €112.68 million spend for 2017.

The largest contributor to the increased spend was a €22.7 million spend on office equipment and external IT services – the €22.7 million spend represents an €8.1 million overspend on the €14.63 million allocated under that heading at the start of 2018.

A note attached to the accounts states that the “variation” relates to approved additional expenditure for digital transformation and modernisation projects and the renewal of software licences for three years.

The annual report shows that the cost of funding the 158 members of the Dáil last year totalled €43.69 million. This was made up of:

  • €15.25m in TDs’ salaries
  • €20.4m in payments to secretarial assistance to TDs
  • €2.92m in travel and accommodation allowances
  • €2.94m in public representation allowances
  • €2.16m for “other” allowances

The cost of funding the members of the Seanad last year totalled €9.1m and this was made up of:

  • €4.16m in senators’ salaries
  • €2.8m in payments to secretarial assistance to senators
  • €1.14m in travel and accommodation allowances
  • €628,000 in public representation allowances
  • €307,000 in “other” allowances 

Fraud

The accounts also confirm that the Gardaí are currently investigating one case of alleged fraud in relation to a salary incremental claim over a period of 18 months.

The note states that “there is insufficient information available to categorise the incident or provide a financial estimate while investigations are ongoing”.

It adds: “The service will continue to make every effort to recover exchequer funds where fraud or irregularities have occurred.”

Dáil bar

The accounts also disclose that profits at the Dáil bars and restaurants last year declined by 7% from €139,047 to €128,224.

The drop in profits came in spite of revenues at the Oireachtas’ catering and bar services increasing by €51,253 from €1.25 million to €1.3 million.

The catering and bar services incurred €766,519 in cost of sales resulting in a gross profit of €535,192 and expenses of €406,978 -  resulting in a profit of €128,224.

Staff costs funded by Oireachtas Commission for the Dáil bars and restaurants last year totalled €1.67 million.

The Oireachtas last year spent €547,000 on legal costs in respect of claims against it. In total, nine cases were brought, with six cases brought by staff members and three by members of the public. 

The staff costs at the House of the Oireachtas Service increased by 9.5% to €31.22 million with the number of staff employed increasing from 546 to 564.

The accounts disclose that the Commission identified 42 individuals with payroll overpayments totalling €35,500, which included 27 individuals where €15,964 has been fully repaid.

For five individuals owing €7,535, recovery arrangements are in place, while 10 owe €12,001 and there are no recovery arrangements in place.

The parliamentary printing bill totalled €614,000 – almost half of the €1.17 million budgeted for – a note attached to the accounts states that the €563,000 underspend arose due to a lower than anticipated demand for printing and a delay in the production of bound volumes.

Library and research services totalled €651,000 while public relations and communications costs totalled €254,000.

The cost of televising proceedings at the Dáil and Seanad and other services during the year totalled €4.86 million.

The cost of funding the pension scheme for past Oireachtas members last year totalled €11.7 million.

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About the author:

Gordon Deegan

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