I propose to take Questions Nos. 653 and 656 together.
As a result of feedback from local authority elected members and their representative bodies regarding their current remuneration regime, my colleague, the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, and I agreed that in June 2018 Ms Sara Moorhead SC would be invited to carry out a review of the role and remuneration of local authority elected members.
Ms Moorhead submitted an Interim Report to me at the end of November 2018, which is publicly available on my Department's website at the following link: https://www.housing.gov.ie/search/archived/current?query=Independent%20review%20of%20the%20role%20and%20remuneration%20of%20local%20authority%20elected%20members .
In conducting the review, Ms Moorhead surveyed all local authority elected members and sought financial information from all local authorities. In both cases, deadline extensions were granted to allow sufficient time for comprehensive responses to be made. I understand that the Review has also involved extensive consultation with individual councillors, councillor representative organisations, local authorities, political parties and other stakeholders. A desk based examination of the remuneration regimes of local representatives in other jurisdictions was also carried out.
Following the necessary drafting process Ms Moorhead is currently finalising her Report. I expect that the review will more comprehensively define the role of councillor and make recommendations for modernising the remuneration regime in order to ensure it is commensurate with the new role envisaged.
In accordance with the agreed terms of reference, Ms. Moorheads final Report will then be submitted to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, for discussion and in order that it has regard to the wider public pay context.