I asked the Standards Commission to look into inconsistencies between Sinn Féin statements and reporting requirements.
“If a TD decides to spend part or all of his/her salary on the provision of constituency offices or employing staff for whatever reason, it is not a matter for the Standards Commission,” SIPO replied. “However, if a TD gives/donates… to a political party … the recipient is obliged to disclose that donation.”
So if a TD employs someone, it’s legal, but if the party employs the same worker, it has to be declared.
That seems clear enough.
Except Martin McGuinness said recently of his salary “I don’t see it. It goes straight into a Sinn Fein account.”
Given uniform statements from Sinn Féin members, it’s probable all TD salaries go “straight into a Sinn Féin account.”
And given how quickly SIPO replied to my letter, I doubt they contacted any TD to ask how many constituency workers they personally employed.
I’m still mulling my response to SIPO, but on the facts to date, it strikes me as irrational, unreasonable and perverse.