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Written Answers - Members' Allowances

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 752 No. 2

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 118.  Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy  asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin  the annual amount paid to each qualifying party leader and each Independent Deputy and Senator under section 1 of the Oireachtas (Ministerial and Parliamentary Offices) (Amendment) Act [339]2001 for the period of 1 January 2011 to 31 December 2011; the frequency and number of payments made to each qualifying party leader and each Independent Deputy and Senator under the terms of section 1 of the aforementioned Act; the formula by which such annual payment amounts are calculated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3118/12]

 119.  Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy  asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin  the annual amount paid to each qualifying party under the Electoral Acts, and not section 1 of the Oireachtas (Ministerial and Parliamentary Offices) (Amendment) Act 2001, for the period of 1 January 2011 to 31 December 2011; the frequency and number of such payments made to each qualifying party; the formula by which such annual payment amounts are calculated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3119/12]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin I propose to take Questions Nos. 118 and 119 together.

The Party Leader’s Allowance is provided for in the Oireachtas (Ministerial and Parliamentary Offices) Act, 1938, as amended by the Oireachtas (Ministerial and Parliamentary Offices (Amendment) Act, 2001.

As indicated in my reply to Parliamentary Question No. 40637 on 15th December last, I intend to bring proposals to Government shortly in relation to the Party Leader’s Allowance.

The allowance is paid to the parliamentary leader of a qualifying party in relation to expenses arising from the parliamentary activities, including research, of the party. Payments are made in respect of members of the party elected to Dáil Éireann and members elected/nominated to Seanad Éireann at the last preceding general election, or a subsequent by-election or, in the case of Seanad Éireann, nominated to it after the last preceding general election. The conditions governing entitlement to payment of the allowance are set out in the Act. The primary restriction in the Act on the use of the allowance is that it may not be used in respect of election expenses.

Under the legislation, the amounts paid to the parliamentary leader of a qualifying party are calculated on the following basis:

TDs € Opposition Parties €Government Parties*
First 10 members 71,520 47,680
11 members to 30 57,214 38,143
31 members and over 28,616 19,077

Senators
First 5 members 46,766
Over 5 members 23,383

*The legislation provides that, in the case of a qualifying party forming part of the Government, allowances due in respect of TDs of that party are reduced by one third.

The legislation also provides that payments may be made to a member of Dáil Éireann, who at the last preceding general election or at a subsequent by-election was elected as a member other than as a member of a qualifying party. Such qualifying Independent TDs are entitled to an annual rate of €41,152. A similar provision in the Act provides for an annual payment of €23,383 for Independent Senators.

[340]A table setting out the total amounts paid in 2011 in the case of each qualifying party, Independent T.D. and Senator, is set out below in Appendix I. The allowances are generally payable monthly in arrears. Because of the change in Government during 2011, there was not a full 12 months entitlement to payment in some cases.

Provision is also made for two payments to be made to qualifying political parties under the Electoral Acts.

Section 50(c)(ii)(I)(a) of the Electoral (Amendment) Act 2001, provides for an annual sum of €4.948 million to be shared among qualified political parties. Payments are calculated on the basis of the share of first preference votes obtained by an individual qualified party at the previous general election.

Section 50(c)(i)(a) of the Electoral (Amendment) Act 2001, also provides for an annual payment in each period of 12 months to each qualified party of €126,973.81.

Payments in respect of both amounts are generally made quarterly in arrears and details of the amounts paid to qualifying parties in the year 2011, including in respect of the last quarter of 2010, are detailed in Appendix II. As a result of the General Election held in February 2011, five payments rather than the usual four were made in 2011. Appendix I

Political Party Total paid in 2011
Fianna Fáil 1,746,500.88
Green Party 75,583.10
Fine Gael 2,579,029.69
Labour 1,634,607.19
Sinn Féin 933,875.54
Socialist Party 120,902.86
People before Profit 120,902.86
Independent TDs
F McGrath 39,437.30
M Lowry 39,437.30
M O Sullivan 39,437.30
J Healy Rae 4,654.09
S Ross 34,783.20
Michael Wallace 0.00
Michael Healy Rae 34,783.20
Noel Grealish 34,783.20
Stephen Donnelly 34,783.20
Luke Flanagan 34,783.20
John Halligan 34,783.20
Mattie McGrath 34,783.20
Catherine Murphy 34,783.20
Thomas Pringle 34,783.20
Tom Fleming 34,293.30
Seamus Healy 34,783.20
Independent Senators
D Norris 23,112.33
S Ross 3,618.79
F Quinn 23,112.32
J O Toole 7,198.92
E Harris 7,198.92
R Mullen 23,112.32
John Crown 15,913.40
Sean Barrett 15,913.40
Martin McAleese 3,247.63
Fiach Mac Conghaill 14,394.35
Eamon Coghlan 14,394.35
Dr. Katherine Zappone 14,394.35
Mary Ann O Brien 14,394.35
Marie Louise O Donnell 14,394.35
Jillian Van Turnhaut 14,394.35

Appendix II

Payments made under section 50 (c) of the Electoral (Amendment) Act 2011

1 January 2011-31 December 2011

Party First preference vote payment Flat rate payment
Fianna Fáil 1,508,733.78 126,973.81
Fine Gael 1,869,664.07 126,973.81
Sinn Féin 502,301.67 126,973.81
Green Party (Paid in respect of 30th Dáil Éireann) 100,149.53 51,142.23
Labour Party 909,076.40 126,973.81
Overall Total 4,889,925.45 559,037.47


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