Priests in Derry are being paid considerably less wages that clerics in other diocese, ‘The Irish Catholic’ has revealed.
A survey carried out by the paper showed priests in the Clogher diocese receiving up to €33,960 per year while priests in the Derry diocese can receive as little as €11,664 – just over one third of the Clogher figures.
Overall, the figures show that priests are generally paid below the average wage of €35,600 in the Republic and €26,018 (£21,836) in the North.
The paper revealed that each priest in the Diocese of Derry on the first day of each month receives a payment of £720 (€972) from the parish in which he holds an appointment. This places Derry’s priests among the lowest paid in Ireland, however, a number of increments and bonuses are available to them.
In addition to the monthly payment, an increment of £70 (€104) for each completed year in the priesthood is to be paid annually on July 1. After 25 increments the maximum is reached. In addition to the monthly payment and increments, each Parish Priest is to receive a further payment of £750 (€1,118) annually on July 1.
The ‘Irish Catholic’ said they have seen regulations for the Derry Diocese which state that the Christmas collection and stole fees are to be divided equally among the priests of the parish. A priest can charge a number of items to parochial funds including heating and lighting and the housekeeper’s apartment.
Generally, priests are provided with accommodation in parochial houses, but other expenses such as food are the responsibility of the priest.