So during the buildup to Brian Cowen appearing on the Late Late Show, the Department of Finance went and published a huge amount of information onto their website, the Special Group Background Documents, submitted by departments etc to Bord Snip, to outline how they proposed cutting back.
It is worth noting that many or all of these documents were actively being sought by journalists through FOI requests, and in the normal course of events, would have been gradually released with redactions. But the Department, on a Friday evening, dumped the entire lot:
To facilitate the work of the Special Group on Public Service Numbers and Expenditure Programmes, the heads of the various Government Departments/Public Bodies prepared initial evaluation papers detailing their areas of expenditure. The Department of Finance also prepared separate evaluation papers on each area, as well as some papers evaluating a range of cross-cutting issues. These documents are set out below for reference; with a limited number of redactions in some cases in line with the provisions of the Freedom of Information Acts 1997 and 2003 (please click here for more information in this regard).
I was particularly interested in the Houses of the Oireachtas. It outlines spending by the House over the past six years, and gives a breakdown on how much it costs the taxpayer to pay for the Dail and Seanad.
I’ve uploaded it here:
Under Main Areas of Spending, it is interesting to see just how much spending on our TDs and Senators has increased. For example:
Administration in 2004: €26.4 million.
Administration in 2009 (est): €59.5 million.
A 125% increase in just six years.
Sec Asst Salaries in 2004: €8.9 million
Sec Asst Salaries in 2009 (est): €18.7 million
A 110% increase in just six years.
But staff numbers are also interesting:
In 2004 there were 328 civil servants, 51 other public servants and 209 political staff for members (TDs, Senators).
In 2009 there are 425 civil servants (30% rise), 65 other public servants and 350 political staff for members (67% rise).
The total figures for maintaining our parliamentary democracy are:
From January 2004 to December 2009 (est): €654 million
Members’ salaries: €134.955 million
Sec Assistant salaries: €98.529 million
Members’ travel: €35 million
Members’ expenses: €50.374 million
So let me get this right.
In six years it cost us more than half a billion euros to pay for Dail Eireann and the Senate?
But how much was proposed to be cut?
€6.5m in 2009 and in the three years from 2010 to 2012, the Houses of the Oireachtas have proposed cutting €11.8m (or about €4m per year out of total expenditure of about €137m per year).
That’s a 3% cut folks.