Sinn Féin's Dessie Ellis given special €90,000 salary deal during recession

Sinn Féin has failed to say if all of its TDs and senators are taking the industrial wage after it emerged that long-standing TD Dessie Ellis was given a special deal at the depth of the economic crash to take the full €90,000 Dáil salary.

Sinn Féin TD Dessie Ellis speaking to the media under the portico at Leinster House.

A party spokesperson avoided the question last night and instead said it is up to individual politicians to decide if they adhere to the “not mandatory” party policy, despite a small number of party TDs saying they had no idea some of their colleagues were in receipt of the full salary.

Under a long-standing and repeatedly-stated Sinn Féin policy, the party has said its TDs and senators “voluntarily” take only €39,500 of their Oireachtas salary, with €2,500 returned to the party and the remainder spent on constituency issues.

The payment policy is intended to ensure public representatives remain fully aware of the financial difficulties faced by the majority of the public, and has been a high-profile carrying card for Sinn Féin in recent elections.

However, reports yesterday confirmed that despite the policy being in place, the party’s Dublin North West TD, Dessie Ellis, received a “special deal” in 2011 allowing him to take the full Dáil salary due to his personal circumstances and concerns that adhering to the policy would leave his family on the poverty line.

Asked by the Irish Examiner last night if other TDs and senators also got deals, a Sinn Féin spokesperson said: “It is a matter for the party’s elected representatives whether or not they adhere to the recommendation of the party.

"The party does not oversee the implementation of this recommendation as it is not mandatory.”

The issue is likely to be among the first pressure points for Mary Lou McDonald, who is now destined to become Sinn Féin leader next month after nominations to replace Gerry Adams closed without any other name being put forward.

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