THE Irish Independent revealed details of Irish politicians’ expenses this week. The Irish political enterprise comes at a hefty price. The Oireachtas typically passes 42 pieces of legislation each year at an average cost €3.25 million each.
Irish and British Parliamentary Salaries
The 2009 tab for 166 members of Dáil Éireann is €18.248 million. A further €4.5 million is required to pay 60 senators and €1.9 million to pay 12 MEP’s.
It was not always so costly. The 1918 general election elected 100 MP’s to the British Parliament. Each was paid £400 per annum and that rate held until 1931.
The average pay of an Irish TD is just shy of €110,000 (£95,700)when long-service increments are factored in. This figure does not include the plethora of allowances that are claimable, including pensions accrued when formerly a minister while continuing to serve as a TD.
Members of Parliament in London are paid £64,766 since 1 April 2009. They are also eligible to claim the following allowances:
|‘in respect of qualified staff actually doing the job’|
|Administrative and Office Expenditure||£22,393||Constituency clinic / office|
|Personal Additional Accommodation Expenditure||£24,222||Away from home overnight costs incurred to perform parliamentary duties|
|London cost allowance||£7,500||for inner London MP’s|
|Winding-up allowance||£42,068||ceases to be an MP|
|web site, publicity|
|first 10,000 miles |
after 10,000 miles
UK Dual Mandate
An MP who is a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly receive a full parliamentary allowance but a reduced salary of one-third of the full rate in respect of the other assembly. This works out at £10,606 in the case of Northern Ireland.
Sinn Féin Conundrum
There are 5 Sinn Féin MP’s in the current Westminster Parliament but they do not participate in parliamentary proceedings. But they do claim the allowances, a total of £662,600 in 2007-08 notwithstanding that they have not taken the oath of allegiance, or affirmed.
This figure includes:
- £105,131 for the cost of staying away from their main home for the purpose of performing duties in a parliament. But they do not attend sittings in the House (in the chamber) or its committees, or sub committees at Westminster
- £106,248 for running their five offices
- £442,744 for staff
- £461 for stationary and £1,529 for postage associated with this stationary
- £6,547 for the cost of equipment supplied on loan to MP’s.
- £7,672 for mileage
- £4,631 for air tickets to Westminster
- £1,549 for 10 spouse journeys to London
- £4,743 for 22 staff journey’s to London
The Robinson Duo
The Northern Ireland First Minister, Peter Robinson and his wife Iris are MP’s. Peter collected £114,163 and Iris £113,500 in allowances in 2007-08. This sum included £40,342 in respect of alternative accommodation. MP’s who are married to each other must nominate the same main home and a limited to claiming one person’s alternative accommodation allowance between them – according to the latest edition of The House of Commons Green Book.
The Robinsons’ also incurred £19,898 on air travel between Belfast and London.
Members’ of House of Lords
Members’ do not, in genera, receive a salary in respect of parliamentary duties. But they are reimbursed actual expenses incurred arising from these duties. Those who claim expenses must have already taken the oath of allegiance or affirmed. Expenses are only claimable in respect of attendance in the chamber, or at committee or sub-committees of Westminster.
There are some special regulations. If a member of the Lords resides outside the UK, travel costs are only recoverable from the point of entry in the UK. Double journeys are claimable if a Member’s car takes him or her from home to an airport or railway station. Travels costs to Westminster for a Member’s spouse or civil partner maybe claimed six times each year. There is a maximum limit of £174 for Members whose home is outside London. The daily subsistence limit in the House of Lords in £86.50, somewhat more generous than in the Other House.