COUNTING staff at the General Election in February shared in a €20,000 windfall for the weekend’s work.
A parliamentary question that the Kilkenny People has seen revealed that €19,947 was paid to the eighty workers who counted tallied and checked the ballots for Carlow Kilkenny in the Hub last February.
A spokesperson from the returning office in Kilkenny said that priority had been given to unemployed people and students when they had been hiring for the position of counting staff. “Anyone who applied for the position, we took into account if they were unemployed or students. For the presidential election we gave even greater preference to the unemployed and students,” said the spokesperson.
The counters this year received on average €250 for the weekends work. In previous elections there has been accusations that state employees were benefiting disproportionately from the counting jobs. At the time they did not have to take a days leave but received their regular pay as well as bonus payment for working in the counting centres.
The amount spent on counting staff was down significantly on expenditure in the 2007 general election. Count staff in Carlow Kilkenny constituency ran up a bill of over €22,000 in 2007.