Friday, 18 December 2020
Appropriation Bill 2020: Committee and Remaining Stages
I will be as quick as I can. I brought this issue up on Inchydoney Island in 2015. I said that no government was going to increase the pay of councillors and, to date, I have been proven correct. How does any government or political party dare to treat these people in the way they have treated them over the five years I have been in this House? These are the foot soldiers for political parties. They are the guys who go out in the rain. Senator Kyne said a few moments ago that we do not respect local politicians in the way we should. Every other Senator has said the same. None of us have a monopoly on this issue. The Government should pay them. By the way, what is offered in the Moorhead report is not worth giving to them. They need a decent salary. If one is on social welfare and is elected as a councillor, one's social welfare payments stop. A councillor's money is not, however, a salary. There is no master-servant relationship between the council and the councillor. It is an allowance to assist them in doing the job they have been elected to do. When their salaries are fixed, therefore, they must also be taken out of the loop with regard to any social welfare benefit to which they are entitled. I respect those on social welfare in the same degree as I respect millionaires. I would love to go on for another ten minutes but the Leas-Chathaoirleach will not let me.