Oireachtas: Spending up 125%; proposed cuts 3%

For those of you who still doubt the value of blogging, try this for a genuine national scoop… Last night, when the world and his Irish wife was warming up and waiting for Ryan Tubridy to sock it Brian Cowen last night, Gavin Sheridan was keeping an ever watchful eye on the Dept of Finance’s the Special Group Background Documents website… and discovered a massive dumping of data from the internal reporting of the McCarthy committee report… Gavin began with recent spending and the proposed cuts for the Houses of the Oireachtas…

Under Main Areas of Spending, it is interesting to see just how much spending on our TDs and Senators has increased. For example:

Administration in 2004: €26.4 million.
Administration in 2009 (est): €59.5 million.

A 125% increase in just six years.


Sec Asst Salaries in 2004: €8.9 million
Sec Asst Salaries in 2009 (est): €18.7 million

A 110% increase in just six years.

But staff numbers are also interesting:

In 2004 there were 328 civil servants, 51 other public servants and 209 political staff for members (TDs, Senators).
In 2009 there are 425 civil servants (30% rise), 65 other public servants and 350 political staff for members (67% rise).

The total figures for maintaining our parliamentary democracy are:

From January 2004 to December 2009 (est): €654 million

Of which:

Members’ salaries: €134.955 million
Sec Assistant salaries: €98.529 million
Members’ travel: €35 million
Members’ expenses: €50.374 million

So let me get this right.

In six years it cost us more than half a billion euros to pay for Dail Eireann and the Senate?

But how much was proposed to be cut?

€6.5m in 2009 and in the three years from 2010 to 2012, the Houses of the Oireachtas have proposed cutting €11.8m (or about €4m per year out of total expenditure of about €137m per year).

That’s a 3% cut folks.

As a footnote, despite having been around longer than almost any other Irish political blogger Gavin doesn’t get a mention in my essay on the state of the Irish blogosphere… But in the last few weeks, he has begun to re-write the standard… Expect to read about this in the Sundays… We await to see whether they have the grace to mention where they got the story from first…

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty