Kerry TD receiving payment for being on leave of absence

Fine Gael deputy Jimmy Deenihan is one of 20 TD`s and senators who are receiving payment for being on leave of absence from teaching on top of their Oireachtas salaries. Taxpayers have paid almost 500,000 euro to the 20 in the last 5 years. The figures were released under the Freedom of Information Act by the Department of Education. The news of the payments comes as Education Minister Noel Dempsey orders numerous spending reviews and fears are growing that teaching posts will be cut in the next year. Mr Dempsey himself received over 20 thousand euro from the department between April of 1998 and the end of last year while on leave from his job as a school guidance counsellor. The payments were in addition to his ministerial salary since 1997. Teachers elected to the Oireachtas are entitled to paid leave of absence. The department deducts salary and pension contributions of a replacement temporary teacher paying the difference to the TD or senator. Here in Kerry deputy Jimmy Deenihan has been on leave of absence since February of 1987. From April of 1998 up until the end of 2002 deputy Deenihan received payments of just over 8 thousand euro.