Local priests lowest paid in Ireland


Fr Michael Canny says local priests have never made an issue of their salary.

Fr Michael Canny says local priests have never made an issue of their salary.

Clerics in Derry Diocese start on low salary but remuneration process is ‘complicated picture’

By Caoimhinn Barr

Priests in the Derry Diocese are among the lowest paid in Ireland, a survey conducted by ‘The Irish Catholic’ newspaper has revealed.

The basic salary for a curate here starts at just €11,664 with priests paid an extra €104 for every year of service, capped at 25 years.

Local parish priests earn an additional €1,118 annually, paid every July 1.

Priests’ income is further supplemented by ‘stole fees’, comprised of payments from Christenings, weddings and funerals. However under Derry Diocese regulations, these fees must be divided equally among the priests of the parish.

Catholic clerics here also receive a significant festive bonus with each priest in the Derry Diocese entitled to at least €3,900 following Christmas collections every December.

Under church law, priests are entitled to keep only one monetary offering to celebrate Mass per day. Any remaining offerings are to donated to good causes, selected by the bishop.

When asked if priests here feel hard done by, due to their relatively low-income status, diocesan media spokesman Fr Michael Canny said he has never heard any of his colleagues make an issue out of their salary structure.

He said the remuneration process for priests in the Derry Diocese is a ‘complicated picture’.

“While the actual money we get into our hands is small when compared to other dioceses it should be remembered that we do not have to pay for house, heat, light, and all the other expenses that go with a parochial house.”

“Out of the money we receive we have to pay for clothing, food, car, holidays,” Fr Canny added.

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Donna Roddy