Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald has criticised the “brazen” payments given to the Taoiseach’s background staff which are above the public pay cap.

It has been revealed three of Enda Kenny’s background staff are on salaries over the €92,672 cap.

Speaking as she unveiled an election billboard vowing to scrap water charges, Ms McDonald said: “It reminds you of the L’Oréal approach — because I’m worth it. It seems in the minds of the current government some are more equal and some are more worthy than others.”

However, she said it was not surprising the Taoiseach was breaking the pay cap as other senior ministers, including the Tánaiste, had done so in the past.

“We know that Government, having set their pay cap, went off then to breach their pay cap repeatedly,” she said.

Mary Lou McDonald: Enda Kenny staff salaries brazen

“It raises a whole question around the commitment to political reform much less the democratic revolution of which they spoke.

“I think it’s brazen, I don’t believe we have ever gotten a convincing explanation from any member of government as to why the pay cap was breached time and time again.”

She said Sinn Féin is willing to go into government after the next general election, but would not hold up a Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael government as a minority party.

Meanwhile, in a Today FM radio interview earlier this week, Mr Kenny said Sinn Féin had no real intention to go into government.

However, yesterday Ms McDonald said: “Make no mistake, we want to be in government. It is a matter of time. Will it be after the next election? I can’t say.”

Launching their billboard urging people to support this weekend’s march against water charges, Ms McDonald said Sinn Fein was the only party that would commit to getting rid of the levy.

However, Labour senator John Whelan said Sinn Féin’s claim that only they will abolish water charges is “laughable given they have repeatedly failed to permanently abolish water charges in government in Northern Ireland”.

He said: “From 2007 to 2011, then Sinn Féin regional development minister Conor Murphy had the opportunity to reverse water metering but made no attempt to do so. Under his watch, a comprehensive water metering programme took place across domestic properties in Northern Ireland.”

Ms McDonald encouraged people to attend Right2Water rallies tomorrow.

Urging people to join the protest, party president Gerry Adams said: “Water is a human right and while water services must be paid for, this must not be done through a double tax on hard-pressed citizens.”


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