GLAC PÁIRT I GCUR CHUN TOSAIGH na hÉIREANN

Sinn Féin Westminster Expenses


SF Challenges other Parties on Westminster Expenses

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP MLA has today called on all political parties to publish full accounts of monies they receive in salaries and allowances.

Mr. Adams said: “The electorate has the right to expect the highest standards from those holding public office and to be confident that taxpayer’s money is being used properly.”

He said:

“There is deep public anger over the abuse of allowances by MPs at Westminster.

There is anger at the systematic ripping off of tax payer’s money from those elected to high office and anger at the complete lack of transparency and accountability.

Not only does the system need to change, there is a need for a change in political culture.

For several years now Sinn Féin has voluntarily published our full annual accounts, north and south and in the USA.

We do this because we believe that this is something to which the electorate is entitled. We have repeatedly called on other parties to do the same but in the majority of cases they refuse to do so.

Sinn Féin MPs, like all party members who are paid a wage, receive exactly the same average industrial wage which is £356 per week, net.

There is no personal or self-gain by Sinn Féin MPs in respect of monies or allowances paid by Westminster.

Over the last number of days there have been some wildly inaccurate and political biased reports about Sinn Féin MPs.  The facts are very simple.

Sinn Féin MPs do not take our seats at Westminster but we represent our constituents every single day of the week on social and economic matters and in relation to the peace process.

We do so in Ireland and in London. In order to represent our constituents we employ a number of staff. We also have office facilities and accommodation in London.

And in the interests of full disclosure we are publishing the full breakdown of staff costs, travel, administration and accommodation allowances.  Other parties should do the same.

The British government refuses to pay Sinn Féin MPs our salaries and other grants which all other Westminster MPs receive.  Over the last five years this has amounted to almost £2 million.

There are also a number of allowances, which we do not claim.

And Sinn Féin MP’s who become Ministers do not claim for constituency travel allowances.

Sinn Féin and those who vote for us expect the highest standards from all of our public representatives. We will continue to act in an open and transparent manner.  And we will do all that we can to end the corrupt political culture which operates on both parts of this island.

The five Sinn Féin MPs are denied:

·                         MP’s salaries from Westminster. This means that our party has been denied over the last five years £1,443,840.

·                         £100,000 per annum in Policy development Grants which is given to our political opponents in the SDLP and DUP.

Sinn Féin MPs have not claimed:

·                         Overnight allowances of £25.00 per day.

·                         The Communications Allowance of £10,000 per MP per annum or £50,000 for our five MPs.

·                         Food expenses.     

All Five MPs claim:

·                         Staff Costs:

Each MP is allowed up to £100,205 per annum. MPs and other Sinn Féin elected representatives do not appoint family members to their staff.  After the initial appointment of staff by the MP’s the responsibility for payment of salaries, tax and welfare passes to the Westminster authorities.

·                         Additional Accommodation Allowances:

Each MP draws down £21,600 per annum.  This covers the rent and services for our London rental properties.  We do not draw down the full allowance which is currently £24,222 per annum. We do not own these properties and the rental payment is an all inclusive service and rental contract.  It covers rent, gas, electricity, water, council taxes, waste, furnishings*, cleaning, laundry and insurance.  These leases have been approved by Westminster.

 The two properties are:

-      A townhouse for the joint use of Conor Murphy, Martin Mc Guinness and  

        Michelle Gildernew.

-      An apartment for the joint use of Pat Doherty and Gerry Adams.

*This excludes 4 purchases in 2004 which are set out in Miscellaneous below.

·                         Administration and Expenditure Allowance:

Each MP draws down £22,393 per annum. This allowance covers the cost of running the constituency operation. All our MP’s draw down this allowance and all claims are supported by invoices and proper documentation.

Sinn Féin’s constituency service is acknowledged as professional and effective.

·                         Constituency Travel Allowance:

2005-2006        Gerry Adams                        £686.

                        Pat Doherty                         £3,060.

                        Michelle Gildernew                £5,042.

                        Martin Mc Guinness              £2,434.

                        Conor Murphy                     £2,068.

2006-2007       Gerry Adams                        £1,352.

                        Pat Doherty                         £4,013.

                        Michelle Gildernew               £5,837.

                         Martin Mc Guinness             £4,287.

                        Conor Murphy                       £2,871.

2007-2008        Gerry Adams                     Zero.

                        Pat Doherty                        £2,916.

                        Michelle Gildernew               £1,516.              April 07-July 07.

                        Martin Mc Guinness              £1,530.              April 07-July 07.

                        Conor Murphy                      £1,650.             April 07-July 07.

2008-2009        Gerry Adams                      Zero.

                          Pat Doherty                       £3,000 (estimate).

                          Michelle Gildernew             Zero.

                           Martin Mc Guinness           Zero.

                          Conor Murphy                    Zero.

Sinn Féin MP’s who became Ministers stopped making claims for constituency travel allowances when Ministerial cars were provided in 2007.

Miscellaneous.

In May 2004 when the party took up the rental leases in London claims were made on the following purchases:

1 television system                        £559.

1 television system                        £559.

1 bed settee                                  £795.

Venetian blinds                              £485.

Note to Editor:

On 15th August 2008 Sinn Féin published the party’s annual financial statements for both the north and south. These accounts are for the year ended 31st December 2007 and are on our website www.sinnfein.ie

We will publish the 2008 financial statement in the summer 2009.