Sinn Féin cannot say how many of its elected members are receiving special pay deals.
Pearse Doherty confirmed that Sinn Féin president Mary-Lou McDonald does not get a salary top-up but strongly suggested that a number of members do receive special side-deals.
Earlier this year it was revealed that Dublin North West TD Dessie Ellis keeps the full €93,598 salary despite a well-publicised and long-standing party policy that elected members only take the average industrial wage.
While each Sinn Féin TD and senator claims the full salary from the State, they usually only keep €39,000 of this and pump the remainder back into the party and constituency services.
Mr Doherty, the party’s Dáil deputy leader, said: “There is a long-established policy that Sinn Féin elected representatives wouldn’t take the full salary and would contribute back to constituency services or would give donations back to the party.
He claimed this is a voluntary policy but it is “the principle of the party and the spirit of the party”.
“I know the situation in relation to Dessie, I don’t know of any other situation. Leo Varadkar talked about €44,000 being the average industrial wage in the State, the policy of the party is that we don’t even take the €44,000, so we are not even on the average industrial wage.”
However, he hinted that Mr Ellis is not the only member of the party who has agreed a special deal with the Sinn Féin leadership around additional pay or expenses above the agreed €39,000.
“The difficulty with some of that is for example if you were a single earner in your household and you were taking home less than €40,000 you would be entitled to certain benefits, but because on paper your salary is €92,000 you then have to pay education fees and so on. In those circumstances people should not lose out,” he said.
He claimed elected Sinn Féin members do not get into politics for the wages but instead aim to deliver on policies. He would not say how much of a salary members would be entitled to as ministers if they go into government but said: “We won’t be taking home €186,000”.
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