Opening the books

Sinn Fein and the average wage

A chara,

In light of the statement by Martin McGuinness on Newstalk this morning regarding his income, that he is “willing to allow my bank account to be opened and I’m sure Sinn Fein are willing to allow their bank accounts to be opened to show that that is the case“, could I bring to your attention once again this email which I originally sent to you on 19 September, and to which I have yet to receive a reply.

While I have received some information in answer to these questions from senator David Cullinane, Twitter is limited by its 140 character constraint, so I would appreciate answers in fuller form.

I look forward to hearing from you soon, in line with the sentiment expressed by Mr McGuinness.

——– Forwarded Message ——–
From: Gerard Cunningham
To: Sinn Féin Press Office
Subject: Average industrial wage
Date: Mon, 19 September 2011

In light of the declaration yesterday by Martin McGuinness about drawing the average industrial wage if elected as President, I’ve been looking at the statements by several Sinn Féin TDs to do the same thing, and would like the answers to some questions.

How does Sinn Féin calculate the “average wage?” Depending on where I look on the Central Statistics Office website, there seem to be several possible “average wage”/average income measures to choose from.

Are TDs and senators paid the average wage before or after tax? That is, if for example the “average wage” is €10,000, does a TD or senator receive €10,000, or a lesser sum reflecting what their after-tax income would be if they were paid a gross sum of €10,000?

Members of the Oireachtas are entitled to claim expenses under various headings. Are Sinn Féin members drawing down these expenses? If so, are these monies also given away, or does the member get the use of them to cover expenses? For example, are TDs paying for their own accommodation in Dublin, phone bills and mileage, or is this paid out of the expenses they are claiming?

Finally, my understanding from questions to Sinn Féin in the past is that monies above the average wage are donated to the party. However, when I contacted SIPO this morning, they were unable to give details of such donations.

Could you therefore please provide me with details of each TD and senator’s donations of monies above the “average industrial wage”, listing the amounts and recipients in each case.

Sinn Fein and the average wage

By Gerard Cunningham

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


  1. I look forward to hearing the response.

    Every news report has McGuinness claiming that SF are “anti-establishment” despite their participation in politics north and south of the border for years. Now it seems that the taxpayers money is funding their party. That makes them not just a part of the establishment but also dependent on it.

    I am just amazed why nobody has asked why they are gifting the difference between the “average industrial salary” and the actual salary they receive back to the State. Instead they are pocketing it. This is dishonest and in, my opinion, corrupt.

  2. When I was last getting a SF salary (about 5 years ago) the wage all got was circa £21k. I doubt it has changed much. It was before tax.

    At one point Dublin staff attempted to have salaries graded due to tax and living costs – the Ard Fheis rejected the idea.

    No idea if that still holds, can’t see why it wouldn’t though.

    iirc those paid from outside SF structures (parliaments etc) accepted the full salary for their role and then passed the excess to a party body/individual.

  3. Mark, thanks for your input. Can I assume your P60 came from SF, and not the individual TD/senator in whose constituency you worked, and that this would have been the usual arrangement?

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