Sinn Féin to end ‘industrial wage’ policy for TDs

Party review recommends changing the practice following complaints

Sinn  Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald.  Her party is to end its policy of paying representatives the average industrial wage. File photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald. Her party is to end its policy of paying representatives the average industrial wage. File photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

Sinn Féin is to end its policy of paying representatives the average industrial wage.

The party has completed a review into the practice and recommended its conclusion.

The Irish Times has learned the internal report outlines a number of reasons for the change in policy including the effect it has on hiring and retaining staff.

Party policy dictates public representatives, including TDs, Senators and MEPs, can only claim the national average industrial wage.

A review of the policy was initiated earlier this year after a number of party members raised concerns about it.

Sinn Féin TDs in the Dublin area in particular are said to have questioned the policy with the ard comhairle due to the rising cost of living in the capital and the cost of childcare.

Report

The party noted the completed report at an ard comhairle meeting recently but it will be further considered at a meeting later this month.

The review recommends a replacement for the policy, but the details of what that might be are unknown.

However, it is expected the party will agree to increase the take-home pay for staff and public representatives.

A Sinn Féin source said the policy shift was necessary in order for the party to modernise.

The Irish Times reported in April that Sinn Féin was reconsidering its long-standing position on pay.

Not working

A new ‘human relations’ committee was established, chaired by the party’s national chairman, Declan Kearney, to examine the remuneration matters.

The proposals were also discussed with the party’s treasurers Pearse Doherty TD and Conor Murphy MLA.

A TD’s pay is €87,258, compared to €92,672 prior to the implementation of the Haddington Road Agreement last year.

Sinn Féin TDs say they take home the “average industrial wage” of €35,000, with the rest of the money used to employ staff or open constituency offices.

The party’s deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald has defended the tradition, insisting most of the party’s TDs and Senators make no financial gain from their role.

She said the policy “keeps us rooted” and “real”, but added the TDs “live in the real world”.