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Sinn Féin MEPs oppose increase in secretarial allowances

16 December, 2004


Sinn Féin MEPs, Bairbre de Brún and Mary Lou McDonald today voted to oppose proposed increases in secretarial allowances. They also voted to support a proposal that MEPs travel costs should be paid on the basis of the actual cost of the ticket rather than the present system whereby the cost of a first class return ticket is paid regardless of how much the MEP actually pays for the flights.

Speaking from the European Parliament in Strasbourg today Ms de Brún said:

"MEPs currently receive an allowance which is more than sufficient for the needs of operating within the EU institutions and from home. The allowance covers staff salaries and other administrative costs. Operating within the constituency and in Brussels and Strasbourg involves a level of administrative costs. However, to seek an additional €2,000 per month is excessive.

"There is a widespread perception that the EU is financially excessive and squanders significant levels of money. There is no real mechanism to provide adequate transparency or checks on how such money is used. Granting an increase to the allowance will only reaffirm that perception."

On the issue of MEPs travel costs Ms. McDonald said:

"Under the present system of travel pay for MEPs the cost of a first class return ticket is paid regardless of how much the MEP actually pays for the flights. This system is needs to be replaced. Any new system should be completely transparent and should only pay the exact cost of the ticket when a receipt is provided." ENDS

Note to editors: Sinn Féin MEPs do not take their full salaries. All elected party representatives receive an average industrial wage and the remainder of the salaries is used for providing constituency services.

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