Not the highest paid -Jones
Councillor George Jones responds to a newspaper article which claimed he was the highest paid Councillor in the country.
When I entered Local Government following the 1979 Election there were little or no expenses available , indeed I served 3 times as Chairman of Wicklow County Council when there was no “Chairman’s Allowance” My total motivation for standing for election was to bring real change and improvements to my area. (Greystones, Delgany, Kilcoole and Newcastle)
In my 33 years service I have been to forefront of all campaigns to improve the area and bring about better facilities for all the community. I have been honoured to represent the entire community on Wicklow County Council since 1979 and Greystones Town Council since 1984. The voters have passed judgement on my work by re-electing me in every local election since 1979.
I find the comments of a Sinn Fein Councillor on this issue laughable when one considers that party along with their associates past record in the Republic and Northern Ireland and in more recent times the collection of thousands of pounds in expenses for absent MP’s in the UK Parliament.
The article in the Irish Independent included fees (€39,000 from IPB this is not a local government expense payment, the pay/fee/salary for the IPB work after Tax, PRSI and Universal Social Charge is €26,214) paid to me as Chairman and Non-Executive Director of Irish Public Bodies Mutual Insurance Company.
This is not a Local Authority body or sub committee but a licensed Insurance Company regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. (Insuring Local Bodies and other Commercial Companies/Organisations)
After retiring from a life time in the Insurance Industry I am putting the skills gained to the advantage of guiding this successful company during a period of renewal. The Department of Environment and Local Government have no role in the regulation and operation of IPBMI.
The Newspaper was clearly advised of this position but choice to ignore in order to “spice up” their story. The fees for Non Executive Directors are set by the Board on the recommendation of outside professional agencies.
The total expenses for my role on Wicklow County Council, Wicklow County Development Board, the Mid East Regional Authority and Greystones Town Council is €39,519 a big difference from the headlines of €83000 package and in fact lower than a number of my colleagues in Wicklow.
The Article clearly stated that they had not obtained full details from a number of bodies and ignored the capacity of various Mayors to earn €120,000 to €140,000 in expenses along with free car , drivers and in the case of Dublin a house.
Cllr Jones concluded “the Irish Independent employed a photographer who hid in his car waiting for me to walk down road where I live despite the fact there are hundreds of photos of me in all media outlets.