In today’s Irish News, John Manley reports;
SINN Féin is set to end its pay cap policy for elected representatives and workers.
The party is reported to have completed the salary review launched earlier this year in response to concerns voiced by a number of Dublin TDs about the cost of living in the capital.
It is Sinn Féin’s current policy to pay all its members, including ministers and special advisers, what it terms an ‘average industrial wage’, which in the north is in the region of £26,000 and in the Republic €37,000.
The remainder of the salary is used to employ staff and run constituency offices.
While no party members have publicly voiced disatisfaction with the salary cap, there has been a long-running concern that, among other things, it prevents Sinn Féin from recruiting high calibre policy staff.
The industrial wage policy was also reviewed to take account of new rules around recruitment by Stormont’s political parties.
Our own Chris Donnelly gave his view on this development;
“In the south, this is about better equipping the party to meet the challenge of competing with Fianna Fáil as the voice of opposition at a time that polls indicate Sinn Féin are struggling to connect with the electorate,” he said.
“But in the north this has the potential to be even more significant – northern Sinn Féin have struggled with the job of transitioning beyond the conflict generation at all levels. Removing the restrictive wage structure should open up the possibility of attracting both representatives and advisory level staff with both the skills and expertise to lift the party’s performance at Stormont.”
David McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs