Sunday 21 January 2018

Gerry Adams claimed €1m as MP but never took seat

Fiach Kelly Political Correspondent

SINN Fein leader Gerry Adams claimed over €1m in allowances and expenses for a decade while a Westminster MP -- even though he never took his seat.

Figures obtained by the Irish Independent show Mr Adams claimed a raft of payments from when abstentionist MPs from Sinn Fein were allowed to claim under changes brought in 2001.

The figures have come to light after Taoiseach Enda Kenny criticised Mr Adams in the Dail yesterday for claiming the payments but not turning up in Westminster.

The payments are understood to be different from receipted expenses claimed. Figures obtained from parliamentary questions put down by MPs in Westminster showed that from 2001 to March 2010 he received £903,082 -- or €1.05m -- in payments from Her Majesty's Treasury.

Failed presidential candidate Martin McGuinness, claimed even more -- a total of €1.08m.

Mr Adams and all other Sinn Fein MPs also claimed thousands of pounds in a "staying-away-from-main-home" allowance from April 2005 onwards.

This is despite them never taking up their seats in the London parliament. Mr Adams claimed £70,331 or -- €81,848 -- in this allowance between April 2005 and March 2010. In the same period, Mr McGuinness claimed €84,890. Other Sinn Fein MPs claimed similar amounts, leading to a total of almost €5m over the period to March 2010.

However, Mr Adams did not receive a salary or pension from his time as an MP, a position he gave up to run for the Dail in February's general election.

Under British rules, an MP only starts to receive a salary and pension once he or she takes their seat by taking the oath or affirming allegiance to the British crown.

Abstentionist MPs are eligible for some expenses, but not all. However, among the payments claimed by Mr Adams during his time as an MP were:

- Staff costs.

- Member's travel costs.

- Stationery costs.

- Incidental expenses.

He also received a salary as an MLA in the North's Assembly.

Yesterday, in the Dail, Mr Adams challenged Mr Kenny on his decision to overrule his senior ministers and sanction a €35,000 salary increase to a key ally who was starting as a government adviser.


Mr Kenny's intervention was on behalf of Ciaran Conlon, Fine Gael's former director of communications, who now works in the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.

"Deputy Adams makes the charge that it is wrong and unfair," Mr Kenny said yesterday. "One of my responsibilities as Taoiseach is to give sanction to advisers. He was chosen as an adviser by the Minister for Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation because of his particular expertise and his ability. I sanctioned that.

"The next time Deputy Adams stands up, he might be fair and might indicate that something is wrong.

"In the two-year period to the end of March, the Sinn Fein MPs claimed £969,328 in staff payments and Deputy Gerry Adams, before his election to the Dail, claimed £106,880 for his staff in a parliament he never attended."

Irish Independent

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