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A Fine Gael politician has not fully repaid the large allowance he was given after losing his Dáil seat

Senator Ray Butler received the payment after he lost his Dáil seat in Meath.

Ray Butler during the 2016 general election.
Ray Butler during the 2016 general election.
Image: RollingNews.ie

A FINE GAEL Senator has not fully repaid a large allowance which he received after he lost his Dáil seat in the general election.

The Senator received the payment, which is called a termination payment, last year. It is paid to TDs and senators who lose their seats to help them while they look for a new job, and is worth approximately two months’ salary.

Based on a TD’s basic salary of €87,258, the lump sum payment is worth almost €15,000.

In addition to the lump sum payment, a series of monthly payments are also payable, depending on how long the TD served in the Dáil.

Butler was a sitting TD for five years and was therefore entitled to an additional three monthly payments at 75% of his monthly salary. Working from a member of the Dáil’s basic salary this could amount to over €16,360.

TDs who lose their seat but who are then appointed or elected to the Seanad are expected to return the termination payment.

TheJournal.ie understands an issue arose between Senator Ray Butler and the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission, which looks after the salaries and payments for all Oireachtas staff, over the return of the money.

Formerly a TD for Meath West, the Trim-based Senator lost his seat in the sixth count during the last election in February 2016.

He was subsequently nominated by Taoiseach Enda Kenny in May 2016 to the Seanad as part of the eleven nominations Kenny is allowed make to the Upper House.

Under the law, a TD receiving the payment must give an undertaking that they do not propose to seek election as a Senator or give consent to be nominated as a Senator.

In cases where a member is elected or nominated to the Seanad, an Oireachtas regulation kicks in which states that a person elected or nominated as a member of Seanad Éireann must immediately refund the termination payment to the appropriate authority.

According to sources, the Senator had agreed to enter into a repayment plan, but the payments abruptly stopped before Christmas.

Several correspondences were sent by the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission to Butler seeking the return of payment.

One source said responses to the Commission’s letters ceased.

In a statement to TheJournal.ie, Senator Butler confirmed that his payment has not been repaid in full:

I commenced repayment of the Termination Allowance last year and I have a payment plan in place with the Houses of the Oireachtas.

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