asked the Minister for the Environment if he will allocate additional benefits to country councillors to enable them to carry out their work in a more efficient manner.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - County Councillors' Benefits.
I am not sure what "benefits" the Deputy has in mind but I have no proposal at this time for the introduction of benefits which would represent departure from the tradition of voluntary service by local elected representatives which, I am satisfied, is both efficient and dedicated.
Has the Minister received representations from the chairmen of different local authorities and the recently set up ad hoc body of country councillors regarding increased telephone allowances and postal benefits that might be given to them?
Yes. I have received representations from the general council of county councils, municipal authorities and other interested bodies looking for free postage, secretarial allowance, telephone allowance and amounts from £1,000 to £2,000 per annum by way of salary.
When does the Minister expect to reach a decision on these matters?
At the moment I am not agreeing to this because if my Department were to pay £1,000 per annum to each member of a local authority it would amount to about £1.5 million. In view of the capital restrictions in my Department, it would be better if that money were spent on other needs.
Questions Nos. 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 for written reply.