Friday, 18 December 2020
Appropriation Bill 2020: Committee and Remaining Stages
I also wish to speak about councillors' pay, which has already been mentioned by three Senators. I agree that the time for talking is over. A decision must be made and it should be made sooner rather than later. This has been a protracted process. The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform has been mentioned twice during this debate but he has only held that brief for the last six months. Previous speakers should remember that their party held that brief for a considerable number of years previously and no decision was made. I sat on the Joint Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government in the previous Dáil, which found it impossible to get access to the Moorhead report. Fianna Fáil actually had to include the report in the programme for Government to be able see it. I would not have said anything today except for the fact that a colleague of mine was mentioned and it was implied that he has sole responsibility. I just want to remind those Senators that their party has been in government for the past nine years and could have dealt with this issue. We all agree that councillors need to be respected for the work they do and the role they play in their communities. Everybody has accepted the principle but the decision has not been made. A debate was had in public at the previous committee meeting before the dissolution of the previous Dáil. The media ran with it so I do not know what we are waiting for at this stage. We just need to get on with it but I am not overly happy with how it has been portrayed here. Senators have suggested is that it is a decision for the Minister and have asked why he has not made it yet but the same Senators were in government for the past nine years and did not address the issue.