Sinn Féin replies

Sinn Féin presidential candidate Martin McGuinness. Source Flikr

On Monday 18 September, I addressed some questions to Sinn Féin about their “average industrial wage” claims, and the amounts their TDs donated to their party. In the three weeks since then, I’ve posted several times on the issue, and Sinn Féin’s compliance with SIPO regulations. This evening, I received the reply below from the Sinn Féin press office. It’s been a long week, so I’ll post again on the detail in the answers below, but I’m uploading it now rather than keeping anyone in suspense. Questions appear in bold, answers in plain type.

Sinn Féin presidential candidate Martin McGuinness, who says he will only take an

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.

We are paid approximately €540 net per week. It is calculated using the following method:

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?

They are paid the after tax figure, see above

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?

Sinn Féin TD’s claim vouched expenses. They have to be spent on the items claimed for.

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.

Some TD’s donate to the party the allowable amount. The balance is spent on enhancing their constituency services

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.

See above

By Gerard Cunningham

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


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