Sinn Fein now being investigated by both SIPO and the Oireachtas Commission…

Michael Brennan has been following up on the admission by both of Sinn Fein’s Donegal TDs that they’d been using travel expenses towards paying for local workers.

It is now up to the Dail committee on members’ interests to investigate the redirection of travel expenses by Mr Doherty and Mr MacLochlainn — although it is likely to require a complaint from a member of the public in order to do this.

And the Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPO) has also written in the past week to Sinn Fein with questions about its ‘industrial wage’ policy.

The party only allows its 14 TDs to take €34,000 of their €92,000 salary and they have to use the remainder to hire staff. No cash is handed over directly to the party in order to avoid breaching the donation limits.

But SIPO confirmed that it wants to find out if the payment of party workers’ salaries by TDs should still be classed as an electoral donation.

This a far from trivial question.

If the party was found to be using official expenses (which are paid specifically to facilitate the TD’s role as a Public Representative) to bolster political assets it would bring a very interesting set of issues to a head.

Talk of an internal review is fine, but there’s a lot of external processes that need to be completed before changes (if any) will be enacted by the party itself…

In the meantime, according to Sinn Fein Central, it is the two Donegal TDs who are investigating the Oireachtas Commission, not the other way round…

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  • ranger1640

    Below is an interesting insight into how the shinners use travel and other expenses to subsidise part time councillors into full time apparatchiks. The whole article is worth a read….

    Maximising the cash: Some of Sinn Fein’s TDs are breaking the rules by using their travel expenses to pay the wages of workers in their constituency offices.

    The party is claiming costs of £460,000 (€568,000) from Westminster for staffing and running constituency offices in the North.

    And in the USA, it has raised $412,000 (€325,000) in the six months up to April.

    Increasing the party’s presence: Sinn Fein has increased its number of constituency offices around the country to 28 as part of its drive to build up the party.

    New offices have opened recently in Clonakilty in Cork, Limerick city, and Galway city.

    It is funded by Oireachtas constituency expenses and salaries paid to Sinn Fein TDs, as well as by donations from local Sinn Fein members.

    ‘Full-time’ councillors: There is no strict rule requiring Sinn Fein councillors to give up their jobs but there is pressure on them to do so.

    Most councillors act as full-time politicians, receiving representational payment of around €17,000, plus expenses from their local council.

    In some cases, Sinn Fein gives top-up payments to full-time councillors by employing them as part-time party workers.

    Cork city councillor Chris O’Leary, for example, gets around €170 a week from the party for working as a party organiser.

  • aquifer

    This is just mudslinging on behalf of the capitalist class who want to keep their pet politicians begging for titbits. Party political funding should be put on a stable basis instead of inviting the corruption of public representatives by private vested interests. Interests who are unlikely to donate to Sinn Fein. Blame Fianna Fail and the developers for funding incompetent chancers into government. Blame it on Thatcher if you like, she could not bear to see direct payments to parties so a vast edifice of fake expense claims was allowed to be constructed by the fevered imaginations and lavish tastes of MPs.

    Pay peanuts, get monkeys who beg for cigars.

  • cynic2

    Is this better than having the Movement just rob banks or hijack cigarettes for a living?