Nine months ago, I wrote a story about Sinn Féin and the average wage. In brief, Sinn Féin say their TDs and senators are paid only the average wage, and hand over the rest to the party.
Which is fine, except for a few things.
One, there are legal limits on how much can be donated to a political party.
Two, the political contributions regulator, SIPO, is unaware of any Sinn Féin contributions above the legal limit, though SIPO point out they have no jurisdiction over money TDs may donate to the party in Northern Ireland.
Three, Sinn Féin claim moral high ground over the donations. The party twitter account presents this arrangement as a contribution to easing the burden on the exchequer. In fact, how Sinn Féin members choose to spend their money doesn’t alter by one cent the cost to the taxpayer.
So I have some questions.
How does Sinn Féin calculate the “average wage?”
Are TDs and senators paid the average wage before or after tax?
Are they paying for their own digs, phone bills and mileage, or is this paid out of the expenses they are claiming?
And finally, where exactly does this money end up?
Sinn Fein:vThe average wage question – http://t.co/h8KAEIQ3
@quiatimet What Oireachtas members are doing is unclear, but I’ve never heard it said that they were handing it back http://t.co/6hH31tJv
@kencurtin hope you have seen this and will give it some RT’ing 🙂
In light of @faduda’s exposé of SF’s wage dodginess (http://t.co/CXKP5T7i) surely Joe Higgins has a few questions to answer too?
Shared: The average wage question http://t.co/efl3GziI
Shared: The average wage question http://t.co/LEVUp6Wl
.@sinnfeinireland Coldn’t DM for some reason. This is the question http://t.co/6hH31tJv Also see email sent to SF Press Office yesterday
For the record: Still no response from Sinn Féin to the average wage question http://t.co/6hH31tJv Maybe they’re hoping it’ll go away
V interesting RT @faduda For the record: Still no response from Sinn Féin to the average wage question http://t.co/iyXr2N3K …
@davidcullinane What does constituency service mean? Office rental, workers, laptops? Where do Oireachtas expenses go? http://t.co/6hH31tJv
@AllanCavanagh I’ve made that point http://t.co/6hH31tJv
There it is again, though the Irish Times seems a bit sceptical. Note the word “claimed”.
“Sinn Féin said Gerry Adams was not in receipt of any additional allowance and claimed Mr Adams takes the average industrial wage of €34,900. Mr Adams and other Sinn Féin deputies receive the full TD’s salary but divert a portion towards the party.”