Wednesday 16 January 2019

Mary Lou McDonald reveals her take-home pay

Mary Lou McDonald. Picture: Collins
Mary Lou McDonald. Picture: Collins
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

SINN Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has revealed the sum she pockets from her Dáil wages.

In recent weeks she has refused to answer questions on how much she takes home from the €94,500 salary.

Now she has said the annual after-tax sum she takes home is around €24,000 with the rest going on paying for the running of her two constituency offices.

Sinn Féin moved away from its tradition of elected representatives living on the ‘average industrial wage’ and contributing a portion of their salary to the party and constituency services after a 2016 review of the policy.

Since then, its politicians have faced increasing questions over how much of their salaries they take home.

Earlier this year, the Irish Independent revealed Dublin North-West TD Dessie Ellis made a deal with the party that saw him draw down his entire Dáil salary since 2011.

He said he could not afford to live on the average industrial wage.

The average worker’s gross pay is currently just under €39,000, according to the Central Statistics Office.

Ms McDonald refused to reveal her take home pay as recently as yesterday, saying she would do so “when I get a chance” adding that she’d choose the timing.

She finally revealed the sum in an interview with Newstalk Radio today.

She referred to Sinn Féin’s policy of recommending a gross salary of around €41,000.

Ms McDonald said: “within that people have different sets of circumstances and different outgoings and so on.

“In my case I take home €460-a-week.

“That’s somewhere in and around €24,000 net per annum.”

She added: “I’m saying that not because I’m looking for some credit or flowers to be thrown at me. You’ve asked the question and I’m answering it.

“That’s what I’m left with when I take account of my constituency offices.”

She said they’re “incredibly busy” and “expensive” to run.

Ms McDonald said the important thing for Sinn Féin about its salary policy is that it’s “not a vehicle for people to get rich”.

She also said “It’s not really about being nosy about what people are taking home or how much money they have in their purse.

“It’s a recommended wage. That’s been our position for the last number of years that we have the recommended wage.”

She said the party has not legal authority to enforce it.

“It is recommended and then of course we understand anything can happen in a person’s life in terms of family responsibilities, health considerations, kids at college... of course all of those things come into the balance.”

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