Monday, 22 February 2021
Councillors' Pay: Motion
John McGahon (Fine Gael)
The Moorhead report is the greatest work of fiction completed in recent times. This is the problem with having people, like academics in ivory towers, writing reports about what men and women are doing in their jobs in their communities and constituencies. What happens in a situation like that is we get works of fiction like this report, which is the most insulting such report I have ever read in my life about the work of local councillors. I put on the record that is what happens when we have people in ivory towers writing reports on stuff about which they have no idea.
I was elected in 2014 and I was on the council for six and a half or seven years. Many young councillors from my party of Fine Gael who were co-opted in 2011 or elected in 2014 left politics. All those people were talented and were going to be future Teachtaí, if they had had the opportunity to stay in local government longer. They could not do that, however, and they left because it was not paying well enough. Councillors are paid €315 a week. I got paid €630 every two weeks when I was on Louth County Council. It is a paltry amount.
My final point to sum up this situation concerns my memories of working in this House as a young councillor. Different Senators, who are no longer in the House, used to come up to me and tell me that they had sorted out the issue of pay, it would be done in six months and that I should not be worrying. Councillors are sick of this situation now. It needs to be sorted out. This Minister of State has done more about this issue in his role in the past couple of months than anyone else has previously, and I really hope he gets this change across the line. I state that because we are now beyond the point of talking and giving plaudits in this regard. The situation must be resolved.