Sinn Féin employs far more officials and staff

Smallest Oireachtas party has 25 more employees

Sinn Féin: Sinn Féin directly employs 61 people in its party headquarters and in its offices in  Leinster House

Sinn Féin: Sinn Féin directly employs 61 people in its party headquarters and in its offices in Leinster House

Mon, Aug 11, 2014, 01:00

Sinn Féin employs substantially more staff than its rivals despite having the smallest representation in the Dáil and Seanad of the four main parties.

Queries submitted by The Irish Times to the major parties show that Sinn Féin directly employs 61 people in its party headquarters and in Leinster House.

The party has 14 TDs and three senators, compared to 34 TDs and Senators for the next smallest party, Fianna Fáil, but it employs 25 more people centrally. Sinn Féin has said that 41 of those work in its Parnell Square headquarters and in Leinster House, while 20 work in “other capacities”.

The party with the next highest number of employees is Fine Gael with 38. Labour employs 27 centrally, while Fianna Fáil has 34.5 jobs in total.

State funding

A little over 65 per cent, or €1.35 million, of Sinn Féin’s State €1.8 million funding from the State went to paying staff wages in 2013. By comparison, Fine Gael spent €1.8 million (from its €5 million in State funding), Labour spent €1.33 million (from €3.1 million) and Fianna Fáil paid €1.1 million (from €2.9 million.)

Separately, each TD in the Dáil is entitled to employ two assistants and each Senator is entitled to employ one. These salaries are paid by the Oireachtas, not by parties.

Sinn Féin sources have said the higher figure of employees reflects its rules on salaries. No official in Sinn Féin (including TDs) is paid more than the national average industrial wage of €47,000. Consequently its staff’s costs are lower than their equivalents in other parties.

Labour has the highest average salary per employee of almost €50,000, with Fine Gael next at €46,000. Fianna Fáil’s average is €32,000 and for Sinn Féin it is €22,000. A Sinn Féin spokesman said some salary costs were borne from its own fundraising.