There is a wide disparity in priests’ earnings across Ireland’s 26 dioceses, The Irish Catholic has revealed.
In what they describe as an exclusive, the newspaper carried out a survey - the first ever - that reveals how priests earn considerably less than average wages across the economy.
In a piece written by Cathal Barry, Greg Daly and Paul Keenan the paper says there is a huge variation in remuneration with priests of the Clogher diocese, which covers parts of south Donegal and into Fermanagh, Tyrone and Monaghan, receiving up to €33,960 per year while priests in the neighbouring Derry diocese can receive as little as €11,664 – just over one third of the Clogher figures.
The survey reveals that in the Raphoe diocese (which takes in most of Donegal) a Parish Priest is paid €18,700 per annum, a curate gets €17,800 and there is a Christmas offering from the faithful which varies from parish to parish. Both health and car insurance are covered for priests of the diocese.
However, the paper cautions that raw figures around monthly remuneration don’t tell the full story since many dioceses that may have lower basic earnings have other benefits such as a share in certain parish collections.
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.
One major advantage priests have is that they are generally provided with parochial property in which to reside while they remain working in a particular parish.
Two dioceses – Cashel & Emly and Meath – refused to reveal details of the remuneration received by priests for their ministry.