Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein under fire as it debates staff pay rise

By Noel McAdam

Sinn Fein MLAs and staff are in line for a £2,225 pay boost also being given to their counterparts in the Irish Republic - though it will come out of the party's own coffers.

The €2,500 rise in the south follows an internal review after increasing concerns that existing pay levels left Sinn Fein increasingly unable to attract top quality employees.

The move will bring the salary levels of TDs, including party leader Gerry Adams, Irish senators and MEPs up to €39,000 (£37,421).

The party confirmed yesterday that MLAs, special advisers and staff in Northern Ireland are included. But a spokesman added: "The recommendations are being considered and the process is not yet concluded."

A final decision will be made next month.

Councillors are not included. "They are not paid a wage, they get an allowance from the councils which is like a part-time wage," the spokesman added.

Sinn Fein is also, however, opposing a general pay increase for politicians in the south which has prompted Fine Gael TD Noel Rock to accuse it of "double standards".

"Normally you're either for or against something, but Sinn Fein are trying to be both.

"The brave thing would be to forgo their pay and actually give it back to the taxpayer, instead of using TDs' salaries to prop up their army of advisers," he said.

Sinn Fein maintains its elected representatives and special advisers are still paid an average industrial wage - £26,000 in Northern Ireland but just over £36,500 in the Republic.

A 'human relations' committee was established after the party's ard fheis in the spring, headed by national chairman and South Antrim MLA Declan Kearney, which is believed to have recommended an end to Sinn Fein's salary cap policy.

Belfast Telegraph


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