[The list is here but you should read the notes below to understand what you’re looking at]
It was all the way back in 1968 when one of the Dail’s most characterful TDs, Fine Gael’s Oliver J Flanagan let the cat out of the bag when he appeared on Gay Byrne’s Late Late Show and without a care in the world confidently announced “my Party does not believe in jobbery but I am a firm and convinced believer in it. I do not see anything wrong in a TD getting a job for a friend. I have found jobs over the past 25 years for numerous people from Laois-Offaly and Dublin and any time I hear Fianna Fail being criticised for putting their friends into jobs, I am angered because I am not in the same position to put my friends into jobs” A couple of days later, then-Senator Garret FitzGerald hit back and said “people who believe in jobbery have no place in Fine Gael. Such people are not fit to hold office in a Fine Gael government” I think we can all agree Garret FitzGerald was a Colossus in Irish politics and Enda Kenny hasn’t attained that station, at least not yet.
On Saturday, the Independent reported on Irish senators and TDs employing their spouses and relatives as parliamentary or secretarial assistants. The comprehensive list of TDs and senators and their assistants has been obtained on here and can be accessed as a spreadsheet here. The Independent did a bit of digging and concluded that 27 TDs and senators employ relatives. Poor old Labour Party chairman Colm Keaveney was piqued to be singled out by the media for employing his wife as a parliamentary assistant with a salary reported to be €52,000 per annum, but there appear to be plenty of relatives employed based on surnames alone, but given the modern practice of spouses not taking their husband’s surnames and relatives generally having different surnames, all the relatives are not immediately apparent – the Independent did some digging but even it said that “at least” 27 members were employing relatives.
You might be surprised to see TDs and senators giving employment to 377 people, the salaries aren’t shown but from the Indo’s reporting appear to be in the €25-55,000 range. And it should be said that those politicians contacted by the Indo insisted they had the right person for the job. Happy coincidence that it stayed in the family then!
It should be said that some of the people shown may be working part-time or on a job-share basis. As to the staff entitlements for TDs and senators, these are:
(1) TDs are entitled to one secretarial assistant
(2) Senators are entitled to 50% of one secretarial assistant.
(3) TDs also select from one of the following options:
(a) one additional full time staff member at the level of parliamentary assistant
(b) a fully Vouched Allowance Option:
(c) a reduced Vouched Allowance and an un-vouched secretarial allowance
(4) Senators also select from one of the following options:
(a) Staff Option: Additional 50% of one Secretarial Assistant
(b) fully vouched allowance Option, or
(c) an unvouched secretarial allowance and an additional 25% of one secretarial assistant.