A chara,

I am a freelance journalist, and recently I’ve been spending some time looking at the practice of Sinn Féin TDs and Senators where they “draw down” an average industrial wage, and the balance (less taxes) is spent on constituency services, which I understand to mean constituency office workers, based on my inquiries to date.

In the interest of transparency and full disclosure, may I ask the following questions to clear up some confusion which has arisen on my part:

How much is the “average industrial wage” (or “average wage”) which you receive? I understand the figure is in the region of €530/week, but people seem to be vague on the exact amount. Can you outline how it is calculated, and if it differs between TDs/Senators and MLAs.

How is the surplus salary above the “average wage” spent in your case? Are people employed in your constituency offices? If so, how many are employed from your personal salary? Are they employed by you personally (that is, do you pay their Employer PRSI, give them their annual P60s, and so on)? Are these constituency workers also paid the “average (industrial) wage”?

What other constituency services is your surplus salary spent on?

Leinster House. Image via Flickr/Tolka Rover

Published by Gerard Cunningham

Gerard Cunningham occupies his time working as a journalist, writer, sub-editor, blogger and tweeter, yet still finds himself underemployed. Go figure.

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