Greens' top brass give up €46,000 of salary to party funds
RECESSION-busting Green Party ministers, senators and TDs are paying the maximum allowed by law to party funds from their salaries.
The audited accounts for 2008 show their two cabinet ministers, one junior minister, two senators and three TDs paid a total of €46,552 to head office.
A spokesman confirmed that each must donate 20pc of the net salary to the party -- subject to the €6,300 limit on each individual contribution fixed by law.
"The 2008 audited accounts show that €46,552 came from TDs' and senators' salary contributions," said a spokesman.
And when divided among the then eight members of the parliamentary party, the average donation was just under €6,000 per head.
The spokesman added: "The pledge signed by [Green Party election] candidates states they must donate 20pc of their net salary -- subject to the [€6,300] limit fixed by law."
Recent pay cuts for politicians and the resignation of Senator Deirdre De Burca will reduce the parliamentarians' donations to the Greens.
A TD's basic pay is now €92,672; while a senator earns €65,621; a junior minister €139,266; and a cabinet minister €191,417.
But Sinn Fein also runs a tight ship and their TDs give over the majority of their earnings to the party, while Dublin MEP Joe Higgins trims his sails.
Each of Sinn Fein's four TDs donates €6,000 to the party annually -- close to the maximum allowed by law. A spokesman for the party said their TDs take home €654.79 per week -- close to the average industrial wage of €33,000 a year. "TDs don't take a specific pledge on this but the wage is party policy," said a Sinn Fein spokesman.
"The balance of their monies goes into running their constituency and to support their constituents."
MEP Joe Higgins only draws the average industrial wage of €33,000 and puts the balance at the disposal of the Socialist Party.
Although he earns €90,000 as an MEP for Dublin, Mr Higgins, who was elected to the European Parliament last year, gives the balance to defray the expenses of his party.
The European Parliament contributes towards his expenses for running a constituency office and his two full-time staff in Brussels. But the Socialist Party employs two people in an office in Dublin and the balance of some €57,000 from Mr Higgins's salary helps pay the party's expenses.