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We'll figure out what to do on ministerial salaries, says SF

 

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High hopes: Mary Lou McDonald and David Cullinane at the meeting

High hopes: Mary Lou McDonald and David Cullinane at the meeting

High hopes: Mary Lou McDonald and David Cullinane at the meeting

Mary Lou McDonald has said Sinn Féin will have to "figure out" whether its TDs will take ministerial salaries if the party enters government.

The party's 'average industrial wage' policy has been eased in recent years but ministerial salaries would pose fresh questions.

The Sinn Féin leader spoke out as the party held its first parliamentary meeting of the new Dáil term.

The meeting was attended by former leader Gerry Adams, but a spokesman said that all outgoing TDs were invited to the occasion.

"Sinn Féin won the election," Ms McDonald declared.

Speaking before Fianna Fáil ruled out a deal, Ms McDonald said it would be up to Micheál Martin's party to decide whether it wanted to be part of the change people voted for.

A grand coalition of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil would be "a slap in the face to the Irish electorate", she said.

Ms McDonald said Sinn Féin TDs would take its salary, make the maximum allowable donation to the party of €2,500 and use the rest to run constituency services as the existing Oireachtas expenses and allowances do not cover this "expensive business".

Asked about whether Sinn Féin would take ministerial salaries, she said: "We'll have to figure that out."

Ms McDonald added: "There is nobody in Sinn Féin that is elected to any office for big careers or big money."

Ms McDonald also praised a Sinn Féin political adviser who tweeted on Wednesday: "If Shinners could desist making unnecessary comments that do nothing but sabotage recent and volatile electoral success, that would be great." The now-deleted tweet was praised by Ms McDonald, who responded: "Bravo, absolutely, absolutely."

The tweet is thought to have been a response to David Cullinane's 'Up the Ra' comments, new TD Violet-Anne Wynne's anti-vaccine Facebook posts and ex-Sinn Féin councillor Enda Fanning's proposal for "a proper monitoring authority" for the media.

Meanwhile, retiree Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin cleared his office and said goodbye to colleagues after 23 years in Leinster House.

He was the first Sinn Féin TD to be elected to the Dáil in 1997 - nine years after it ended its abstentionist policy.

Irish Independent