Research conducted by the office of TD Catherine Murphy shows that Ireland’s system of financial allowances to TDs unfairly discriminates against Independent and non-party affiliated TDs. (PDF here)
The research comprises several elements and we are presenting the results in separate articles. We are also highlighting TDs who receive significant allowances additional to their very high basic salaries arising from this imbalance and through other unvouched allowances . A PDF of the research is linked below.
Annual Exchequer Funding
One of the analyses identifies a significant imbalance in payments to political parties that would yield a saving of €844,163.26 to the exchequer if redressed. Political parties that polled a minimum of 2% of first preference votes in the general election are entitled to receive Annual Exchequer Funding. Parties receiving less than this and Independent deputies are not entitled to money under this fund. In the maelstrom of the 2011 general election, a higher number of Independents than usual were elected. In total, these received 17.06% of the first preference votes cast.
The projected annual fund amounts to €4,948,202. Regardless of the fact that political parties entitled to this fund obtained 82.94% of first preference votes, they are entitled to 100% of the fund. The ‘remainder’ of 17.06% won by Independents is redistributed to qualifying parties. In addition to this, political parties are each awarded a basic annual sum of €126,973.80.
These additional funds (€844,163.26 per year in this Dail's lifetime) should be returned to the exchequer and not redistributed to political parties.
Table outlining the discrepancy (click to enlarge):
The next chapter will look at Party Leader funding and additional payments to political parties arising from Brendan Howlin's interpretation of the Oireachteas (Allowances to Members) Act. This includes an approx €41,000 basic allowance to Independent TDs.
Download the PDF here. We have obtained additional docuements at Politico which we will publish in the coming days.