Where have all Sinn Fein’s TD donations gone?

Here’s another little thread of interest from Gerard Cunningham… It seems that there is no record of any Sinn Fein TD having made a donation to their party, or a least that bit of it that organises within the Republic:

I telephoned SIPO (Standards in Public Office Commission) asking them about donations by Sinn Féin TDs and senators. SIPO have replied to me, saying they have “no record of receiving a section 24(1A) donation statement from any elected member of Sinn Féin.”

They add that they’d “be happy to examine any information that would support a claim that a section 24(1A) donation statement should have been furnished to it by anyone.”

Gerard has put a request for further information into Sinn Fein party HQ and is awaiting some answers. He’s been chipping away at this story for a while now… It may be some time before he gets an answer…

  • http://www.banuanlae.org/ Ulick

    Considering the there are limits to what one can donate to a political party in the south, I would assume that they have gone to a jurisdiction where there are no such limits. There is such a jurisdiction not 70 miles away from Dublin, one which doesn’t even require the source of donations to be disclosed.

  • http://www.thedissenter.co.uk thedissenter

    Always wondered about this ‘industrial wage’ thing. Do they only take what is preceived as that amount from the exhequer or is it first all passed to SF and then allocated, and how would that work as wouldn’t that mean party rather than individual payment and is that allowed in the rules? And if they donate to SF from their salary, is that tax deductable? and is there a clothing allowance, because quite a few have suits that the average industrial worker wouldn’t be best able to afford: and they seem well turned out. Then there’s the houses. And that ‘industrial wage’ does that exclude all the payments for all the boards and quangos and various teams to which most MLAs seem to gravitate at some point, or does that get handed over as well…? So many questions. Course, full disclosure of Party accounts would make things a little more transparent, wouldn’t they?

  • http://www.banuanlae.org/ Ulick

    “Course, full disclosure of Party accounts would make things a little more transparent, wouldn’t they?”

    http://goo.gl/sK2JK

  • Mick Fealty

    Can’t fault you there Ulick. But isn’t it strange that nothing has been declared in the Republic?

  • http://www.banuanlae.org/ Ulick

    But isn’t it strange that nothing has been declared in the Republic?

    Not really. From an accounting perspective it’s probably less hassle if all the money goes into one pot and all salaries are extracted from that. I’m sure Gerard will turn up something eventually, probably along the lines of whether the average industrial wage (after tax) equates exactly to the actual salary SF workers get into their hands but I can’t see the difference being very significant. Enough for detractors to get some mileage out off maybe but not much more.

  • http://www.faduda.ie Gerard Cunningham

    “But isn’t it strange that nothing has been declared in the Republic?
    Not really. From an accounting perspective it’s probably less hassle if all the money goes into one pot and all salaries are extracted from that.”

    I can’t see how this is the case. If nothing else, the ForEx risks and steps taken to minimise it create extra hassle. And as a link earlier in this thread shows, SF are filing accounts in the South anyway.

    “I’m sure Gerard will turn up something eventually, probably along the lines of whether the average industrial wage (after tax) equates exactly to the actual salary SF workers get into their hands…”

    It’s actually more basic than that. I’m not entirely clear what an “average industrial wage” is. The CSO has several income measures,but none of them go by that name. However, how they define an “average wage” is a side issue.

    “…but I can’t see the difference being very significant. Enough for detractors to get some mileage out off maybe but not much more.”

    Just to be clear, I don’t care how much SF pays their workers. The “average wage” meme first caught my attention because it was spun as somehow saving the Irish taxpayer money, and that clearly wasn’t the case. The fact that SF TDs and senators choose to spend their money on office space or furniture may be commendable, but it’s no saving to the exchequer.

    It’s not exclusive to SF either, by the way. ULA TDs also make a similar claim, but in their case, the excess funds apparently go to local charities, youth groups, etc. Likewise, Senator/Prof John Crown donates his salary from the Senate to cancer research. For all I know, Alan Shatter writes a cheque for Amnesty International every year. It’s really not my business how he spends his money.

    Where this becomes interesting are the statements I’ve seen from SF representatives that the money goes to the party. If that’s the case, there are clear laws on how much can be donated, who it can be donated to, and how it must be declared. In the interests of transparency, I’d like SF to say where exactly the money is going. Since SIPO informs me that they have no such statement, I have to conclude that either (a) the money is crossing the border, or (b) the money is not going to the party. Either way, I await clarification from SF with interest.

  • http://www.banuanlae.org/ Ulick

    Sorry Gerard but you seem to be going around in circles with this. On the one hand you are saying it’s being spun as saving the exchequer money and on the other you cite SF TDs spending the money on offices and furniture!!! So who exactly is spinning it as a saving to the exchequer? I’m unaware of any such spinning. The line usually taken/spun is that it’s donated for the good of their constituents via facilities, staffing and furthering the goals of the Party. The only example of ‘exchequer saving’ I’m aware off is Martin McGuinness’s pledge to only draw down the average wage if he is elected. The ‘spin’ is that SF workers are not feathering their own nests or living high on the hog on the basis of their activism, not saving the ‘exchequer’ cash – sure why would they, it would only be pissed away up some zombie bank.

  • http://www.faduda.ie Gerard Cunningham

    “Sorry Gerard but you seem to be going around in circles with this. On the one hand you are saying it’s being spun as saving the exchequer money and on the other you cite SF TDs spending the money on offices and furniture!!!”

    I never said they spoke with one voice.

    Seriously, the point is, it could go on furniture for all I know. No one seems to have a clear answer, and that was one of the items offered to be by a supporter (though I suspect, not a very well informed one).

    “So who exactly is spinning it as a saving to the exchequer? I’m unaware of any such spinning.”

    Mary Lou, Pearse, or whoever else happen to be on Vincent Browne’s show on any given night.

    “The line usually taken/spun is that it’s donated for the good of their constituents via facilities, staffing and furthering the goals of the Party.”

    See there’s the thing. There’s no clarity. All I’m asking for a clear statement from the party outlining exactly how much their TDs and Senators receive of all the income and expenses paid out of the Oireachtas, and where it goes.

    “The only example of ‘exchequer saving’ I’m aware off is Martin McGuinness’s pledge to only draw down the average wage if he is elected.”

    We’re into the meaning of words again. What does “draw down” mean?

    The present lot of TDS “draw down” an average wage, and hand over the rest. If anything, McGuinness went further.

    “The ‘spin’ is that SF workers are not feathering their own nests or living high on the hog on the basis of their activism, not saving the ‘exchequer’ cash – sure why would they, it would only be pissed away up some zombie bank.”

    I don’t have a problem with workers being paid for their labour. all I’m asking is, where’s the money going?

  • Rory Carr

    Maybe it is all those many, many years that I spent as an accountant, but I have great difficulty in understanding how anyone with a modicum of intelligence (much less a journalist) can fail to understand the simplicity of the system whereby elected Sinn Féin representatives turn over the salary earned in such office to the party which ,in turn, hands over to the representative, a sum equivalent to the average industrial wage as a living allowance, the balance then being used to fund the work of SF representatives in serving their constituents.

    I do actually think that of course they understand, but it is just so right, so fair, so just and might prove so bloody, god-awful popular, that the electorate would come to expect it of the other parties so that it simply cannot be tolerated and those who detest the policy’s potential for popularity must labour to find the catch.

    And, by the way, Gerald Cunningham is, as Ulick has pointed out, absolutely wrong in alleging that Sinn Féin spin this policy to fool voters into believing that, somehow by it, the Treasury is spared payment of a full member’s salary. There has never been any attempt but to be other than ‘Caesar’s wife’ about this whole policy. To do otherwise would be to have the SF representatives suffer a personal loss for no good purpose. Whatever other attribute he may believe them to have, ‘daft’ surely isn’t one of them.

    “Where’s the catch?” they ask themselves over and over again, so steeped are they in a culture where politics is first and foremost about personal gain and personal advancement. “They must be up to something, ” they cry. Why? Because it is quite inconceivable from the experience of the politicians that they know and support that one would willingly sacrifice the largest share of his or her grab at the public purse in order to better serve his or her constituents.

  • http://www.faduda.ie Gerard Cunningham

    “Maybe it is all those many, many years that I spent as an accountant, but I have great difficulty in understanding how anyone with a modicum of intelligence (much less a journalist) can fail to understand the simplicity of the system whereby elected Sinn Féin representatives turn over the salary earned in such office to the party which ,in turn, hands over to the representative, a sum equivalent to the average industrial wage as a living allowance”

    I have no difficulty understanding how Sinn Féin might do that.

    But as earlier articles pointed out, if they did do that, they didn’t tell SIPO, the statutory body which monitors the legality of political donations. It seems to me that monies donated for the support of constituency workers (or laptops, office rental, furniture, phone bills or whatever) is a political donation. My question therefore is, since what you describe appears to be what Sinn Féin are indeed doing, how are they doing it legally?

  • Rory Carr

    …oh, and The Dissenter might like to look at this statement accompanying Sinn Féin’s Annual Report and Accounts for 2010.

    I imagine that it should not only answer his questions abour Sinn Féin M.P.’s salaries and expenses, but might raise a few questions about the lack of transparency from other public representatives who are not quite so forthcoming.

  • Rory Carr

    Gerard,

    I see from your blog that it was only this morning that you approached Sinn Féin with your concerns that they might be in breach of SIPO regulations. Is it not a bit premature to be flinging around such unsubstantiated innuendo while yet awaiting a reply? Impatient sort of a fellow, what? No harm in that. I bet that Vincent Browne fellow would get a reply by return.

    I do trust that you come back to us all when you have had a reply.

  • PaulT

    Rory, alternatively he could just check the website

  • PaulT

    Gerard,
    Are you referring to the Donation Statement form that SIPO send out to all MEPs TDs and Senators every year?

    http://www.sipo.gov.ie/en/Reports/AnnualDisclosures/DisclosurebyTDsSenatorsandMEPs/270511-DonationsdisclosedbyTDsSenatorsandMEPsfor2010/Name,14031,en.htm

    You’ll find the most recent here (2010) , its done end of Jan every year, for the previous year.

    As you can see all SF TDs returned their forms,

  • PaulT
  • PaulT

    Here’s another SF donation

    http://www.sipo.gov.ie/en/Reports/AnnualDisclosures/DisclosurebyPoliticalParties/270511-DonationStatementsfurnishedbyPoliticalPartiesfor2010/Name,14060,en.htm

    Does this answer your question Mick?

    2 minutes google. Job done (apols for several posts, orginal post went to moderation)

  • dantheman

    What a dreadful attempt at Shinner bashing

  • Rory Carr

    Well, well. Thank you for that, PaulT.

    So it is that no Sinn Féin TD’s (in 2010 at any rate ) recorded in SIPO receipt of donations from any third party presumably because, like the Socialist Party’s MEP, they did not receive any though I see that FF, FG, Labour, the Greenies and one non-aligned Senator received between them almost £100,000 in outside donations in cash or kind (but mostly cash, thak God!)

    SIPO records for 2010 show individual donations by SF TD’s of 6K each and a receipt by the responsible SF party official, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, of 24K (i.e. 4 x 6K).

    Case closed, Gerard. But why is it, please, that you, a trained journaiist with special interest in RoI political matters were not able to read and understand the requirements of a form like this albeit, slightly complicated? Not, I trust, blinded by an over-eagerness to do down a political party with whom you disagree. I will take it as read that you are much bigger than that and after all, any of us can err. Can we not?

  • Mick Fealty

    Boys, to save Gerard coming back and asking you to read his post properly, here’s the axiomatic premise for his inquiry, which you can find if you follow the second link:

    The basic salary for a TD starts at €92,672, rising to €95,550 after seven years, and €98,424 after ten years service. This does not take into account extra payments made to party leaders, committee chairs, and expenses.

    According to the Central Statistics Office, average weekly earnings in 2010 (third quarter) across all sectors amounted to €685.10. Over a year, this would come to a total of €35,625.20.

    In the private sector, the figure is €607.56, while in the public sector the figure is €902.54.

    Going on what the Sinn Féin TDs have said, this means each of them ought to have donated about €60,000 (less tax?) to Sinn Féin every year. However, the maximum allowable donation to a political party in one year is é6348.69.

  • Mick Fealty

    The money has done a flit across the border. As Ulick says who would account for money got in one jurisdiction, when there’s another place just up the road where you can keep it secret?

    Somehow, I dont think an answer is going to be forthcoming short of a tightening of the regulation inNorthern Ireland.

  • Rory Carr

    Fair enough, Mick. SIPO records (linked above by PaulT) show individual SF TD’s donating 6k each , close to the maximum permitted, and Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, on behalf of Sinn Féin, receiving 24K. As you say that leaves a balance of approx. 54K for each TD above the industrial wage plus the 6K donation to SF in the 26 counties.

    However there is no use in Gerard seeking enlightenment in SIPO records for the destination of these surpluses and why he thinks that the absence of any SIPO records concerning them reflects upon SF in any sinister way is beyond me.

    We may speculate that this surplus is donated to Sinn Féin 6 Counties where there is no limitation upon receipts nor even a requirement to reveal donors’ identities. We may speculate but we do not know. However we can always ask and who better to ask than Sinn Féin itself ?

    Gerard has said that he has already asked Sinn Féin just earlier today (though precisely what he asked we do not know) and I would expect that he will tell us the reply to his inquiry in due course.

    I do not anticipate that the reply will in any way reveal any breach of SF’s declared policy, they have a record of meticulousness in such matters and I cannot help but conclude that this relentless drive that assumes that there must be something dodgy is cultured by a conciousness of a political establishment where something always is dodgy and that therefore cannot comprehend that there might be a simpler, cleaner, more honest way.

  • http://www.faduda.ie Gerard Cunningham

    Apologies to all for the delays in replying, I’ve had to drive Kildare to Donegal today, which ate up a lot of time.

    I’ll try to address some of the points various posters have made in turn.

    Rory Carr: I got responses from both SF and SIPO in February for an article I wrote at the time. Slugger has linked to that article. Since the subject became topical again with Martin McGuinness’s campaign promise, I contacted SF and SIPO again. I published SIPO’s reply, linked to the original article which contained an SF statement, and I’m awaiting any clarification /update SF want to give me. To date, two working days after I sent in my questions, I’ve received no acknowledgement to my email, although the operater of one of the party’s twitter accounts say they’re “sure the press office will put [my] mind at rest in relation to the issue.”

    I’ll let you know as soon as I hear anything.

    PaulT: The link you sent shows four TDs each donated an even €6000 to SF. Another link shows Caoimhghin O Caolain declared €24,000 on behalf of SF. €6K times four is €24K. So Are SF saying that each TD earned 6000 above the “average wage”? Is O Caolain exempt from the “average wage” commitment, since hedoes’t seem to have made a donation?

    Rory, since you responded to the SIPO links posted by PaulT, note that the 6K isn’t the end of the story. Let’s assume an average wage of 35K. Add 6K to that, you get 41K. A freshly minted TD earned 92K in 2010. Veterans like O Caolain would earn more. Even assuming really bad tax management, it’s unlikely they were all paying 51K in taxes. And then there’s the question of expenses. If they are living on “average wage”, presumably those too are being handed over to the party.

    I’d thought the discrepancy could be explained if there were other donations made not to the party, but to individual councillors or other candidates, per Section 24(1A), but SIPO have said they have received no 24(1A) forms from SF, so the only donations made are the 4x6K.

    Maybe I’m missing something, but those number don’t seem to add up. SF haven’t donated enough to live up to their own rhetoric. Or rather, they haven’t donated is such a way as to leave a record with SIPO.

    To Mick, thank you for laying out the numbers from my February article and bringing some light to the discussion. I hope what I’ve written above will also aid anyone who still isn’t following.

    Finally Rory, I’ve received as much enlightenment as I can from SIPO records. I’ve asked Sinn Féin if they can tell me where these funds are going. Occam’s Law suggests the most likely answer is they go cross-border. I’ll be on the road tomorrow, but if I’ve received a reply from SF confirming that (or who knows, maybe there’s a third answer so obvious we’ve both missed it) I’ll update you when I get home.

  • http://www.thedissenter.co.uk thedissenter

    Let me understand the accounting here. SF take in salary (already taxed) and then pay out allowance which will be effectively taxed again if it is not against receipted expenditure. Doesn’t seem very tax efficient. Bet HMRC loves that one. Or does the taxman make special allowance from political parties? And this still doesn’t account for the extras off boards and day expenses and allowances et al, etc which is income albeit not salary – who benefits from that?

  • PaulT

    Sorry Mick/Gerard I’m lost now.

    Are you saying the links to the SF Donation Statements are not the correct Donation Statements or………….?

    We seem to have descended in speculation of how much a SF TD earns and costs.

    Which, is not the topic. The topic is did they return the relevant Donation Statements for 2010

    er……did they?

  • Mick Fealty

    Rory,

    I agree that in absense of clarification from SF we can only speculate about where the money has gone. We can also only speculate what is meant by the ‘average industrial wage’.

    I’m pretty sure it means something fairly Spartan (it seems to be genuinely woven into the shared values of the movement), but it is not something that the party has ever disclosed.

    The value of Gerard’s work on this, in my view, is that he’s asking realistic and grounded questions of what’s happening to his cash as an Irish taxpayer. It’s not by any means an unreasonable query.

    Personally, I’m not an absolute believer in transparency in government, though when it comes to money and fund raising in political parties it is very useful to know just who’s going to be paying for the next government.

    Interactivity, in which governments (and parties) under take to answer questions as fully as they are reasonably able, is a better route to go.

    That’s what the Interactive Charter is about (http://www.interactivecharter.org/).

    But there’s a moral problem too. If SF are successful in this bid (and I would include a substantial gain in the proportion of people prepared to vote for them in that), how do we take them seriously when they say they are going to run down non compliant taxpayers, if they are so reluctant to register their own donation practices in an open and transparent way?

    ++++++++++++++++

    Well, there’s a surprise PaulT… Go back and read the extract from Gerard’s February post. The logic is laid out there pretty plainly.

    And please don’t post again until you can demonstrate that you have understood what this thread is actually about. You’ve already misled enough honest commenters on this thread without creating further distractions.

    If you don’t/can’t comply then, for good or ill, it will interpreted as persistent Trolling and dealt with as such…

  • Reader

    PaulT: Which, is not the topic. The topic is did they return the relevant Donation Statements for 2010
    No that’s just a probing question. The real topic is, do SF TDs actually live on the average industrial wage or is that just a load of populist spoofing?

  • Rory Carr

    “Sinn Féin MPs, like all party members who are paid a wage, receive exactly the same average industrial wage which is £356 per week, net.”

    From a report by SF President in the link provided by Ulick above. The whole report ,which I had intended to link in my response to The Dissenter above (but failed to do) is worth reading. So here it is again:

    http://bit.ly/r2DKf4

    The statement might also address what Mick calls “the moral problem” concerning Sinn Féin’s willingness and practice in the area of openness and accountability on the question of their salaries and expenses and, which is were the real touchiness comes into play, by extension the lack of willingness and practice of other parties in that regard.

  • Mick Fealty

    Is it safe to assume this is still the figure? If so, can some else do the math of what’s missing from the SIPO totals?

  • PaulT

    Right Mick, your getting mildly insulting again, so put away the dead sheep and I’ll try to catch up.

    I had understood that your issue was that no donation statements had been received, so I posted a link, sorry but that seem to be the trust of the first link and your OP. Sorry if I misunderstood.

    To make amends I followed the link on the link and found his questions, which I’ll try to answer from memory.

    How does Sinn Féin calculate the “average wage?” –
    Sinn Fein don’t calculate the wage, its published by the state, and they ..er..read the figure and use it

    Are TDs and senators paid the average wage before or after tax?

    They, take an amount from their salaries which is the equivalent of an industrial wage after tax, obviously they will have been taxed at source when they were paid by the state and so would not be expected to pay tax twice.

    Are they paying for their own digs, phone bills and mileage, or is this paid out of the expenses they are claiming?

    Digs, phone bills, flights trains, hotels tend to be booked by the Party, sundry items such as food or taxis are paid by the individual and claimed back (actually just like a company does)

    And finally, where exactly does this money end up?
    Well, open-ended question, unless you can be more specific I can’t answer it, broadly it is used to maintain and develop the party and fight elections,

    As the most spied upon, monitored and publically examined political party in the UK or Ireland, I’d imagine if there was anything untoward happening we would have been made aware of it by now.

    As far as whats happening to Gerards tax dollars, he has a right to know how much is been paid and to whom and for what, but as he seems unconcerned about Joe Higgin’s ‘private causes’ so I think we agree a TD can spend his salary as he likes.

    And your final point about who’s paying for the next Govt, talk about trolling, what are you on about, this is SF not the Tories and Lord Ashcroft

  • Barnshee

    RC

    “Maybe it is all those many, many years that I spent as an accountant, but I have great difficulty in understanding how anyone with a modicum of intelligence”

    Speaking as another accountant although one more concerned with tax take I just want to know

    1 What was paid gross as income
    2 What tax /NICs were paid on this income
    3 What was the amount paid to individual
    4 What was retained by the paying body (SF?)

    As you know (you are an accountant) 2,3 and 4 will total to 1 so any 3 from 4 will allow us to calculate the missing data

  • Barnshee

    “Digs, phone bills, flights trains, hotels tend to be booked by the Party, sundry items such as food or taxis are paid by the individual and claimed back (actually just like a company does”

    Are these declared as benefits in kind and Taxed where appropriate?

    Hint only expenditure “wholly and exclusively”is allowable for tax purposes

  • Mick Fealty

    One reason why I did not want do the sums…

  • PaulT

    Yellow card was a bit harsh Mick. Here’s an innocent point/question.

    If you read Gerards links you’ll see that Joe Higgins does not have to declare donations to ‘private causes’ apparently.

    Donations to Sinn Fein (6 counties) don’t have to be declared.

    Is it reasonable to presume that SIPO consider Sinn Fein (6 counties) a private cause and/or have them in the same category.

    Is the issue that you disagree with Sinn Fein (6 counties) being treated like a private cause, or that all donations to Sinn Fein (6 counties) and/or private causes should be declared

    And finally, if as the law stands these donations don’t have to be declared to SIPO how can they be “Missing” from the SIPO totals

    But if you do want to, you should be aware its not just SF TDs’ who don’t have to declare donations to Sinn Fein (6 counties) so technically anyone could donate and not declare it, so how much is missing and from who’s total is it missing from

    Or is it you want to find out how much they are donating to Sinn Fein (6 counties), to which I’d have to ask where were you going with this?

  • Neil

    It’s a funny wee thread and highlights another way in which Sinn Fein come in for additional scrutiny in certain circumstances. We know that while the IRA were on ceasefire and up until decommissioning and beyond, Loyalist paramilitaries were involved in some murderous activities, but that was not an issue for the press, their only concern at that time being the silent guns of the IRA. We all know if some magical IRA action materialised in the morning (as is the stuff of certain Unionist wet dreams) Stormont would be shut down before lunchtime. Loyalists gun a man down in borad daylight in a very busy road and what happens? Zip.

    Moving on, we have a thread which runs along the lines of: SF say they take an industrial wage, but as they are Sinn Fein we have no reason to believe it, other than the fact they said it.

    This is a good thing that SF do, popular – in fact it would be fairly suicidal to lie about and heck darn it, it’s just too good to be true, so in the absence of a) evidence, b) provability c) any reason whatsoever to suspect that a lie has been told, that is the default mode when dealing with SF.

    When dealing with the crooks in the other parties in the South, well we know they take the money and run. So let’s attack SF for, and be honest, you hope, they are behaving in the same way as your crooks of choice in the other parties in spite of the fact that the only account you have says this is what SF do and you have no reason to doubt it.

    The whole thread says little about SF and more about how some people have a pathalogical obsession with SF, very much so when they do something ‘bad’ even more so when they do something good (and look like they might spank the former government – paragon of virtue that they are).

  • Mick Fealty

    PaulT,

    All I ask is you keep it civil and on topic.

  • PaulT

    Tried to Mick, however your style of debate is “hidden butterfly crouching mule”

    You touch lightly on different parts of the topic until you find something you can defend and then you stick to it stubbornly.

    At the moment you’re in ‘hidden butterfly’ mode, flitting from no declarations, to do they don’t they, transparency in government, where’s Gerards tax dollars going, etc etc

    All I’ve done is chase you down the path of your choosing and I’d like to think answering some questions for you at the same time.

    So, Mick, what little blossom will you land on next, where are we going with this

  • Mick Fealty

    Paul,

    If you want to have a go, have a go at what I’ve said. You were warned, and you, in the immortal words of Vic Reeves, ‘wouldn’t let it lie’. See you in a fortnight!

  • Lionel Hutz

    Surely there would be implications if Sinn Fein TDs were donating to the six counties part of the party anyway. Why would taxpayers in the south want to pay for constituency offices etc in the North? And if it is in fact the case, that the “donated” money is in fact spent in the south, should it not be declared there?

  • Neil

    Surely there would be implications if Sinn Fein TDs were donating to the six counties part of the party anyway.

    There is no ‘six counties part of the party’, it’s an all Ireland party. Would you insist the IRFU kept Best’s wages in Ulster Bank, or is it ok to pay him from HQ in Dublin?

    Why would taxpayers in the south want to pay for constituency offices etc in the North?

    They wouldn’t be, they would be paying (like the Northern folks are paying) for SF on an all Ireland basis, and as we (constituents) voted for them then we don’t object to them spending their mooney on a 32 county basis.

    And if it is in fact the case, that the “donated” money is in fact spent in the south, should it not be declared there?

    Why? If Enda Kenny wants to donate his money to a UK based organisation, who is anyone here to argue?

    They earn the money. What they do with it is of no concern to anyone, however they state that they donate any excess over the industrial wage to SF.

    Anyone can donate any amount of their wages to any (legal) organisation on Earth. Why should Sinn Fein politicians forgoe that right?</b?

  • Lionel Hutz

    Because it’s a dual issue. On the one hand the politicians get the money. They can ofcourse do what they like with it but if they are donating the money to their own pension fund then it wouldn’t go down well. That’s just a credibility issue.

    The second part is that the party is receiving donations. If the party is receiving donations for work done in the south then surely they have to declare it in the normal way. Why should Sinn Fein be given an exemption????

    But it is all in the public interest, do you not agree? Sinn Fein make it a selling point that they ‘take the industrial wage’. Surely by making that claim they can expect it to be scrutinised.

  • Rory Carr

    Lionel Hutz,

    If Sinn Féin TD’s decide to contribute to Sinn Féin in the 6 counties after having maxed out their allowable donation to SF in the 26 counties then it does not create a situation where 26 county taxpayers are paying for “constituency offices etc in the North”.

    Their taxes are contributing to the TD’s salary surely, but what a TD does with that salary thereafter is his/her affair. He can use it to improve his living accomodation, donate part of it to the African Missions, spend a lot on booze, discos, dining out and belles de nuit, stuff it up his nose or down his throat as many are wont to do, it’s his/her money after all. However, donating part of that salary towards the activities of a 32 county party to advance the very causes which they put before the electorate during the campaign which earned their return as members of Dáil Éireann.

    Barnshee,

    Your concerns have been explained to death I would have thought particularly in PaulT’s post at 11.27am, which, as it immediately precedes your two posts, I should have thought you might have read.

    The TD receives a net salary after all stautory deductions have been made from Dáil Éireann as do all other TD’s, indeed as do salaried employees throughout the world. Allowable parliamentary expenses are claimed as appropriate. They are not treated as benefits-in-kind much in the same way as applies at Westminster and Stormont which, given that they are intended as reimbursement for allowable costs of office is entirely reasonable but, and more importantly, the same system applies universally – that means that all other TD’s are treated likewise. It is the system ! Sinn Féin TD’s do not receive special treatment (as, bloody, if !).

    And of course the amount that TD’s retain from their Dáil salaries after donations is not taxed (nor is it taxable) a second time. Surely you are not making a case that it ought to be? Where on earth you came up with that thought beggars contemplation. Not the kind of advice a client would expect to hear from an accountant I imagine.

    Anyway, exhausting, exacerbating as it is, and as Neil above,at 12.44 pm, rightly to my mind, comments,

    ” It’s a funny wee thread and highlights another way in which Sinn Fein come in for additional scrutiny in certain circumstances. “,

    nevertheless, if I can be of any assistance in helping to dispel genuine misunderstandings, I will try.

    Trolls, on the other hand, can go…

  • Barnshee

    “we know that while the IRA were on ceasefire and up until decommissioning and beyond, Loyalist paramilitaries were involved in some murderous activities, but that was not an issue for the press, their only concern at that time being the silent guns of the IRA”

    Unlike the catholic community we don`t elect murderers

  • Rory Carr

    Lionel,

    I see that we have crossed and I was intrigued by your comment on the application of a TD’s salary that:

    …”if they are donating the money to their own pension fund then it wouldn’t go down well…”

    Not that this applies in the case we are discussing but, why on earth not? What could possibly be wrong with a TD using part of his own salary to invest for his old age? Isn’t every citizen urged to employ just such prudence and as much of it as they can possibly afford?

    Have I taken you at cross purposes? Is there something I am missing here?

  • Barnshee

    RC
    “Your concerns have been explained to death I would have thought particularly in PaulT’s post at 11.27am, which, as it immediately precedes your two posts, I should have thought you might have read”

    “And of course the amount that TD’s retain from their Dáil salaries after donations is not taxed (nor is it taxable) a second time. Surely you are not making a case that it ought to be”

    I am not suggesting any additional taxation
    All I would like to see are the bare facts

    What was paid
    Who was it Paid to
    What tax and Nics were paid on the salary

    What happens after that is of no interest If it went to the TDs end of story

  • Neil

    What happens after that is of no interest If it went to the TDs end of story

    Just curious but why do you feel any entitlement to that information?

    Also, do you agree once someone has been paid a wage for doing a job then what they do with their money is of no concern to anyone?

    Should Shinners wish to take an ‘industrial wage’ and burn the remainder, what business is it of yours? Just curious.

    Unlike the catholic community we don`t elect murderers

    No, you have no need for that, your government and their murder gangs don’t rely on any NI votes. However that’s a whole nother topic.

  • Rory Carr

    Barnshee,

    I am at a loss as to understand what it is precisely that you fail to understand.

    The TD receives, from Dáil Éireann, a salary commensurate with his role that is paid net of all stautory contributions – just like salaried emoloyees everywhere. OK? With me so far?

    The TD is then free to do whatever with his own salary just as you and I are (or, ‘were’, in my case). Following?

    Sinn Féin TD’s choose to donate that part of their net salary over and above the net average industrial wage back to the party in order,

    1) that they might give example that public representatives should not use elected office as a feeding-trough.

    2) that their donations might assist the party to which they belong to advance the programme upon which they were elected.

    The maximum donation allowable to be made to a party in the Republic is just over six thousand euros which SF TD’s duly contribute from their salaries.

    It is assumed that the balance over and above the net industrial wage left after this donation is then donated to Sinn Féin in the 6 counties where no such restrictions apply. Given that SF, north and south is an all-Ireland party committed to just those ideals which the Southern TD’s successfully put before their constituents it is expected that such a move would be applauded by their electors.

    Do you not think, if, say, that you were a DUP supporter it might be a good idea if your DUP MLA donated a great chunk of his Assembly or Westminster salary (or both) back to the party in order to advance say, its primacy over Sinn Féin, its stalwart defence of the Union and all those unionist causes which you so cherish?

    If you do think that it might be then perhaps you could bring it up at the next branch meeting or write directly to the First Minister asking him how he feels about contributing.

  • Ceist

    “Just curious but why do you feel any entitlement to that information?”

    Because we live in a democracy

  • Lionel Hutz

    Rory,

    The reason why I say it wouldn’t go down well is because it would make Sinn Fein’s claim a lie. Take the north. On the double jobbing issue, Sinn Fein get around the issue by claiming that actually they only get paid the industrial wage, so they don’t personally benefit. If that was shown not to be the case, then there is a credibility issue, as I said in the post you quote from.

    But just to make it clear, I think public representatives should get paid. I want a government worrying more about sorting out the health service etc and not fretting about paying their electric bills. In fact I would rather have less MLAs but they should all be paid more. I also think MPs are under paid. They should be paid more and get less in expenses. TDs seem to get a good wage though, so it’s not an issue for me in the south. I do agree believe that politics shouldn’t be about greed and so on but I wouldn’t want the most capable people put off because they are earning more money out of politics. Maybe that makes me elitist, but I would like our leaders to be the best talent we have.

    So, with regards to probing this industrial wage and donation issue, it’s not because I don’t think they deserve the money or that they shouldn’t be able to do with it as they please. It’s simply about honesty. When you make it a selling point to the electorate that you will not get paid as much, then you shouldn’t get paid as much. Otherwise it is lying.

    Now, I’m not saying they are lying. I admit I doubt that all is what it seems. It’s just that if they are receiving the industrial wage and doing a professional job they I would say they would face similar pressures toyself. I’m a barrister qualified in the last three years or so and earning just less than the average industrial wage. I could never afford a mortgage, I can’t afford my own car. Because doing this job is draining financially. Buying decent suits (nothing extravagant) and shirts and so on, travelling all over the province. I just don’t think you could be an MLA on the average industrial wage.