Written Answers. - Gratuity Payments.

Michael Ring

Question:

352 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for the Environment Heritage and Local Government the amount it will cost if all dual mandate holders retire from the county councils before October 2003; and the amount it will cost for persons to replace them until June 2004. [19324/03]

Councillors who are members of the Oireachtas and who may retire within the period 4 May to 30 September 2003 will receive an additional gratuity of €5,000 in recognition of their departure from local government together with the early payment of the normal retirement gratuity which is available to all councillors, based on potential service up to next June. The cost of the former gratuity is about €0.6 million and of the latter about €1 million if all Oireachtas councillors were to retire within the period mentioned. Assuming that they were then all replaced by new councillors a further amount of up to €1.6 million in a full year could arise in respect of representational payments to these.

However, the costs involved are likely to be somewhat less as they are dependent on the number of Oireachtas councillors who choose to resign before the next local elections, the dates of resignation chosen by such individuals and the requirement for a minimum period of three years qualifying service for a gratuity.

Michael Ring

Question:

353 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for the Environment Heritage and Local Government the number of persons who have given up their seats in county councils as a result of the Local Government (No. 2) Act 2003; the counties in which this has happened; the persons who have replaced them; and if the replacements have been family members of the people who gave up their seats. [19325/03]

My Department's information on the membership of local authorities is derived from details supplied by local authorities and is limited to the names, addresses and party affiliation, if any, of members. The latest compilation of this information is in a booklet prepared by my Department in July 2002. However, this would obviously not include any more recent changes in local authority membership.