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McDonald supports proposals to stop inflated expenses for MEPs

22 June, 2005


Sinn Féin National Chairperson and MEP for Dublin Mary Lou McDonald will today support a report before the European Parliament to bring to an end the practice of MEPs being able to claim inflated expenses. Under current rules an MEP can claim in excess of four times actual costs incurred.

Ms McDonald said that the report by Giuseppe Gargani MEP for the Committee on Legal Affairs offers an unprecedented opportunity to instil confidence in a sceptical public. She said that Sinn Féin "will be voting in favour of these proposals, and we hope others will do likewise".

Speaking from Brussels Ms McDonald said:

"One of the concerns of the public regarding the European Union is in relation to the amount of expenses being claimed by individual MEPs. Tonight in Brussels Giuseppe Gargani MEP for the Committee on Legal Affairs will unveil proposals to clamp down on inflated expenses, so that in future they will reflect actual costs rather than estimated costs. His report to the European Parliament will also recommend that all MEPs receive the same salary regardless of which member state they are elected from.

"At the April plenary session of the European Parliament, both I and my colleague Bairbre de Brún voted in favour of a report by Ona Jukneviciene MEP in regards to the EU's general budget. We supported moves to standardise MEP salaries, greater accountability in MEPs general allowances, allowances to reflect real costs incurred by MEPs and greater transparency around secretarial assistance.

"Since the most recent enlargement of the European Union in May 2004, there has been a discrepancy between members' salaries. MEPs from the new member states are paid significantly less than many of their Western European counterparts. Sinn Féin believes that there should be a single remuneration for members of the European Parliament. In line with party policy, Sinn Féin MEPs receive an average industrial wage, with the remainder paid into the party for development and constituency services.

"In light of the above, my colleague Bairbre de Brún MEP and I will support this report when it comes before the European Parliament today, and is voted upon tomorrow. For too long, the European Union has been characterised in the public mind as a 'gravy train'. This is a perfect opportunity to instil confidence in a sceptical public. Sinn Féin will be voting in favour of these proposals, and we hope others will do likewise."ENDS

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