Sinn Féin TDs are in favour of scrapping the party’s industrial wage pay cap, which would more than double their pay overnight, saying there is no point in forcing politicians to stay in “poverty” in order to keep them “pure”.
Health spokesman Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin and long-time backbench TD Seán Crowe said they will back any pay policy change, while potential future leaders Mary Lou McDonald and Pearse Doherty confirmed they are “open” to the idea, after it emerged removing the salary restriction is being considered by the party’s hierarchy.
Speaking at Sinn Féin’s weekend ard fheis, the party’s southern policy director, Ken O’Connell, said the “one size fits all” salary cap was to be reviewed “in the near future”.
Under the party’s current policy, TDs receive €35,000 a year out of the usual €87,258 TD salary, with €2,500 “voluntarily” given to party headquarters and the rest spent on constituency structures. The policy was consistently used by Sinn Féin throughout the economic crash to criticise Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, and Labour for being out of touch with the public.
However, senior party figures now say there is little point in continuing it, opening the door to Sinn Féin TDs potentially doubling their salaries overnight.
Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Mr Ó Caoláin said he “understands and appreciates” how “difficult it is for young committed republicans” to cope with the real cost of living in Ireland today, and that “in that context I believe a review is necessary”.
His party colleague, long-time Dublin South West TD Mr Crowe, similarly said: “I don’t believe we should be keeping our people in poverty to keep them pure or anything”.
Ms McDonald said the review will finish in “a couple of months”.
However, newly elected Dublin Fingal TD Louise O’Reilly said politicians are being “paid too much” and that she would turn down any pay rise if it was offered.
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