How the system works
MEP salaries and pensions:
Since a rule change in 2009, MEPs receive the same salary. Before then, MEPs were paid in accordance to their national parliaments.
The gross annual salary for an MEP up until the end of 2013 was €95,482 or €7,956 a month. This has since been increased marginally to €96,240.
The salary is paid from Parliament's budget and is subject to an EU tax. Irish MEPs also pay Irish tax on their salaries.
Paul Murphy, the replacement socialist MEP, only takes a 'worker's wage', and donates the rest of his salary to a range of left-wing causes. In 2013, Murphy claims his net wage was €21,060.
By any standards, the pensions of MEPs are generous. All members can claim a pension after the age of 63 and, based on their length of service, can receive up to 70pc of their final salary.
A number of MEPs, including Marian Harkin and Gay Mitchell, have donated their Oireachtas pensions back to the State while they are serving in the EU Parliament.
* Expenses and staff costs:
Europe being Europe, there is an elaborate system of payment of travel and subsistence allowances to all 766 MEPs.
MEPs receive a general expenditure allowance of €51,588 a year to cover office costs, telephone and postal charges, and the purchase, operation and maintenance of computer equipment.
Travel expenses to and from Brussels or Strasbourg are also paid.
They can claim for business- class air fare, a first-class rail fare, plus fixed allowances based on the distance and duration of the journey to cover the other costs of travelling.
They also get a flat daily allowance of €304 for every day they attend Parliament.
All MEPs receive an allowance of €254,508 per year to cover staff costs both in their Irish constituency offices and in Europe. MEP staff are not paid by the MEPs but from the EU Parliament budget.
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