“The Belfast Telegraph offered the party an opportunity to comment..”

The Belfast Telegraph’s David Gordon has uncovered the detail that Sinn Fein MLAs claimed £513,682 of their annual office expenses on secretarial and research services billed to their own party.

The £513,682 total went to Sinn Fein in the financial year 2007/08 from the office-running allowances available to Assembly members. Payments were largely listed as “Members Party Secretarial Expenses” within the category of “advisory and consultancy costs”. They have been disclosed by Stormont officials under freedom of information, as part of a breakdown of sums claimed by MLAs in the 12-month |period. Some members from other parties also made payments to their own parties for secretarial and research services during the year. But the sums involved were not on the same scale as the Sinn Fein arrangements.

That could be an example of the centralised control of the party machine, or an indication of a “what’s left in the allowance?” approach.Also from the Belfast Telegraph report

Sinn Fein also receives a party grant from the House of Commons, despite the refusal of its MPs to take their seats.

Its Westminster grant for the current financial year is £93,639, according to the Commons.

The party’s five MPs do not receive salaries from Westminster, but are entitled to a range of parliamentary expenses, covering such areas as staffing, constituency office costs, London living costs and travel.

In 2007/08, Sinn Fein MPs claimed £681,235 in Commons expenses.

The five politicians are also senior MLAs and received £338,840 in Stormont expenses in the same 12-month period.

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  • DC

    Ah come, come now, obviously David Gordon has trouble imagining a whole team (1st 2nd and 3rd choice?) of republican researchers each drawing the average industrial wage for such efforts that would amount to the fee claimed?

    Because Gerry Adams draws and lives off the average industrial wage, don’t ya know? Yes true. Sad for him. Ya see it’s all about equality.

    What a terrible ‘failed state’ of affairs!

  • Richard James

    Pity Adams couldn’t write a book telling me how to buy holiday homes from my industrial wage!

  • Michael McDowell

    “Pity Adams couldn’t write a book telling me how to buy holiday homes from my industrial wage!”

    It’s called the Northern Bank, ops sorry, the UK taxpayer, ops sorry, ahem: a mortgage from the Bank of Ireland.

    There.

  • ArchiePurple

    SF obviously doesn’t mean Silly F**kers….they hate the British, but they sure love their money….

  • Mayoman

    Got it in one Archie. So David Gordon ‘uncovered’ that “There is no suggestion that any Assembly rules have been broken in the allocations.”

    Why wouldn’t they? Channelling British money (legally) to aid the now thankfully non-violent republican cause seems a pretty smart move to me. Well done to them!

  • Your Hun Chum

    ‘Tis a bit like claiming the dole whilst asserting your right to murder people in taxi ranks and furniture shops, due to your deeply held (and impeccably legitimate) opposition to the state, innit ?

    Up Bobby Snads !

  • ed

    Always smart to use the enemies resources against itself, damn near poetic

    By the way pete nice attempt to draw the heat off the dupers

  • Your Hun Chum

    On a lighter note on the same theme, anyone noticed the intellectual powerhouses that are the UUP and the DUP tearing strips off each other on account of a wheeze they are both (in common with every elected party in Europe) manifestly guilty of ? Take a leaf from the English lads, its not good hype when your at it yourselves, and it does no good to flood the boat your share from pure mindless boorishness against them un’s. So look after (your) common good and say nothing. The perceived advantage is quite compromised. Its like two special needs ferrets in a rather grubby sack.

  • Your Hun Chum

    “Always smart to use the enemies resources against itself, damn near poetic”

    the poet must surely turn in disgust from enmity predicated on such terms. The enemy, as mother, makes a poor villain. (The scrounging scoundrel, an even poorer hero.)

    (has anyone else noticed that the daily telegraphs method of interpreting MP value is a bit cr@p ?)

  • Barnshee

    Why complain -it saves on the dole payments these unemployables would be getting

  • Mayoman

    I fear a touch too much oedipus in you young YHC! 😉

  • Paul McMahon

    So it’s contradictory for SF to claim expenses from a Parliament they don’t attend but it’s alright for SF voters to be obliged to pay taxes contributing to the upkeep of the same Parliament?

  • Reader

    Paul McMahon: but it’s alright for SF voters to be obliged to pay taxes contributing to the upkeep of the same Parliament?
    If they want to throw their vote away – that’s up to them.
    But still – bearing in mind the size of the Northern Ireland subvention from Westminster, that’s a profitable trade for most of those voters. Better still for the MPs.
    No wonder progress on the republican project is so slow.

  • Paul McMahon

    Still doesn’t answer the principal in my question though Reader.

    Is it hypocrital for Irish Republicans to accept money from a state which they disagree with while they are forced to pay taxes to it?

  • Frustrated Democrat

    Paul

    I am sure you take advantage of the services that the taxes provide, if you really feel strongly about the level of taxes you could try those in the South.

  • DC

    “Is it hypocrital for Irish Republicans to accept money from a state which they disagree with while they are forced to pay taxes to it?”

    Depends on the amount of cash, the levels of entitlements and the actual authenticity of the claim, usually based on necessity; a needs based approach. The public will see all this and reach a view based on their own personal circumstances, subjectively the public might have problems relating to this sort of leadership.

    On the easy take but not on the political make, as little has been produced in terms of decent thinking, legislation/regulation that has helped people here. Except stopping people shooting off guns for a cause that now seems like a well-paid career.

  • Paul McMahon

    I don’t currently reside in the state FD so, at the moment, the question is of little relevance to me other than that of an abstract concept.

    If SF can prove, by means of a reputable external auditor, that monies accrued from Westminster are based on necessity DC does it then justify their financial claims in taking monies from a Parliament they regard as illegitimate in Ireland?

  • Dave

    Paul McMahon, they don’t regard it as being illegitimate. They just tell the plebs that they do, and they will tell them that until it is no longer deemed necessary to maintain the pretence. In other words, when British sovereignty is normalised and accepted by the plebs as benign, just, and consistent with an ‘Ireland of equals.’ If they did not regard British sovereignty as legitimate, then they would not have signed a constitutional agreement that declared that it was wholly legitimate. Instead, they would have continued to claim that it was illegitimate and only cooperated under protest, as was the position prior to to the GFA.

    Since they have accepted that British sovereignty is legitimate, they have no grounds to refuse to pay taxes to the British state on those grounds – not that organised criminal gangs pay much tax on their earnings, anyway. Indeed, if they held that British sovereignty is illegitimate, then they could easily follow their own logic and refuse to cooperate with the state. Since such civil disobedience would collapse British rule in short measure (as it did in India and many other colonies), you can see why the British state directed opposition away from that option for resistance and into a futile terror campaign that was designed to terminate in the consolidation of British rule.

  • DC

    “If SF can prove, by means of a reputable external auditor, that monies accrued from Westminster are based on necessity DC does it then justify their financial claims in taking monies from a Parliament they regard as illegitimate in Ireland?”

    Re the ‘illegitimate’ thing, is this SF’s view, it might be the rhetoric because afterall they now back the peace accord which doesn’t action anything illegitimate but instead has the legal acceptance of those that voted for it.

    72% of the people here and 90% in the republic.

    If the money can be justified, and that will require changing public opinion of those that max out expenses, then SF et al should fear little by it.

    The taking of money from a British parliamentary system by SF is but a smaller example of a bigger problem for that party, namely explaining why they changed their position from one of uncertainty over the GFA to now clear backing of it albeit with the passing of time, and a lot of broken deadlines. And with the maximum claiming of cash off the UK system such actions speak louder than warm pre-GFA words, such as ‘illegitimate’, that warms the cockles of republican hearts.

    People could think that SF are on the make without having bothered to answer some difficult questions from people that challenge that party’s way to achieve its core beliefs, and query whether certain previous actions and decisions taken were in the end worthwhile.

    The best example of the change in republican thinking was given by Martin McGuinness saying ‘traitor’ while his own party’s approach to policing has been less than enthusiastic, conditional, and ambivalent. Hardly conducive to motivating people to back the police and cement legality – and even when seriously significant changes in approaches to policing have been made by SF the sheer lack of any passion or enthusiasm, almost usually set in reluctant and negative tones makes people suspect.

    With political life seemingly so begrudging to those in SF the sheer enthusiasm with which it can suck up expenses does stand out in contrast to the way SF presents itself generally (e.g. industrial wage drawers / equality etc).