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?