Saturday 21 April 2018

FF leader got salary topped up by €30,000 - from a taxpayer-backed fund

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin. Picture: Arthur Carron
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin. Picture: Arthur Carron
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Micheál Martin's Dáil salary has been topped up by a combined €90,000 over the last three years from a taxpayer-backed fund.

Fianna Fáil's statement on how it spent its Parliamentary Activities Allowance (PAA) in 2016 shows a €30,000 "payment to the parliamentary leader" for the third year running.

That meant Mr Martin's combined pay would have been €117,258 last year.

However, Fianna Fáil wasn't the only political grouping to make a payment in that category last year.

Independents4Change also listed a €3,000 payment to its parliamentary leader.

The group's expenditure statement is signed by Wexford TD Mick Wallace, who is listed as the leader on the form.

Mr Wallace didn't respond to questions about the payment from the Irish Independent last night.

Independents4Changes received a total of €220,203 under the PAA scheme.

The payments were included in returns to the Standards in Public Office Commission (Sipo), which has a supervisory role in the spending of the funds.

The statement forms include a section to list "any salary of honorarium" for party leader duties over and above their role as a TD.

Fianna Fáil has previously said Mr Martin has taken the payment from Fianna Fáil's allocation to reflect his additional workload as party leader.

Last night a Fianna Fáil spokesperson said: "The €30,000 allowance is payable to all political parties, including Fianna Fáil, as well as to all Independent TDs".

The party received €2.2m under the PAA scheme in 2016.

It spent €1.2m on personnel costs and €542,756 on "office and parliamentary overheads" among other expenditure.

Fine Gael got €1.9m, Sinn Féin received €1.4m and Labour got €733,000 in 2016.

Total spending by all groups came to €8m, a Sipo statement said.

Irish Independent

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