Higgins return unused € 200,000

President Michael D Higgins
President Michael D Higgins

Ralph Riegel

President Michael D Higgins plans to publish an annual report on the costs of Áras and Uachtaráin – and promised to return € 200,000 unused from the reimbursements to the Treasury.

Mr. Higgins launched a firm defense of presidential operations while campaigning in Cork. He insisted that every effort should be made to offer the taxpayer value for money, as he sets out in detail all Áras costs from 2017 onwards.

He also confirmed that he intends to return 200,000 euros unused from the presidential payment to the Treasury.

The president said that the annual compensation of € 317,000 is used for state dinners, hospitality and social functions.

"The benefit was set in 1938 … it is the same number since 1998. It is not asked by the president – it is voted in the Dáil."

His comments came after reports in the media that 27 members of staff of Mr. Higgins enjoy salaries that are 50% higher than those paid to gardaí or personnel of Defense.

"All costs directly related to the Áras that I put directly on our (web) site," said the president.

"In the course of the seven years it comes to about € 26 million – I think that in the current year it is about € 3.6 million € 1.7 million of this in salaries, € 1.06 million is on the centenarians premium of the 27 employees is 76 percent of the 3.6 million euros.

"My predecessor – at the end of her grand period – sent € 450,000 to the Treasury, which is more than 14 years," he added.

Irish Independent

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