Friday 18 August 2017

Letters: Let's see what MEPs are really fighting for

Flags of European Union member states fly in front of the European Parliament building in Strasbourg
Flags of European Union member states fly in front of the European Parliament building in Strasbourg

In the last few days before the European elections, it is worth pointing out what exactly it is the candidates are fighting for.

Certainly, some of them will claim they want to represent the Irish people, when the reality is most of them have signed a legally binding contract with their respective parties to abide by the party whip system.

But I suspect that every MEP who gets elected will make sure they claim every single cent from the expenses and allowance system. The basic gross monthly salary of an MEP is €8,020.53, up from €7,956.53 in 2012. It 'can' be subject to Irish tax, but most Irish MEPs prefer to avail of the far lower special EU tax rate, which results in a net payment of €6,250.37. Only Nessa Childers publishes her net monthly salary, although she doesn't publish an actual tax certificate, which she states is €4,716.90 for 2013 and which is in line with what an Irish person earning the same salary, paying full PAYE and other taxes, would take home. But not one of the other Irish MEPs provides details on their net salaries.

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