MEPs are overpaid and receive generous allowances to cover expenses incurred in their daily work. Sinn Féin have consistently voted to reduce salaries and for the introduction of a fully vouched system for expenses.
It is disappointing that Fine Gael MEPs and their political group in the European Parliament, EPP have blocked even minimal transparency measures. In July 2018, the Bureau of the European Parliament of which Fine Gael’s Mairead McGuinness is a member opted to reject changes to the transparency of the General Expenditure Allowance.
Below are the current details of salary and allowances for MEPs.
An MEP’s pre tax salary is €101,808 per annum. I pay tax both in Brussels and in Ireland on this salary. After tax the net income is approx €1200 per week.
By choice, I take €545 of that salary for my own personal income, from this I pay my rent in Dublin and my other living expenses in Ireland.
The balance is used to support a number of non political activities in my constituency. These include the sponsorship of football teams, of womens sporting events, residents associations and donations to women’s refuges.
I also sponsor travel expenses for young people, NGO volunteers or active retirement groups attending conferences/debates in the EU that I am not directly involved in organising.
Recently, I have decided to sponsor the planting of native trees with local community groups to offset my carbon emissions from the frequent flying I am obliged to undertake due to my job.
I also donate €2500 to Sinn Féin annually, this is within SIPO rules.
MEPs are given an allowance of €4513 per month to cover the running costs of a constituency office in their Member States. These costs include rent, heating, furniture, office & IT equipment, phones, insurance, website, newspaper and magazine subscriptions, postage, stationary, parking/ tolls and accountancy fees. My office is currently based in Clondalkin Enterprise Park.
The allowance is also used to host conferences, seminars and public meetings. Costs covered include, venue hire, refreshments, graphic design, speaking fees and travel for guest speakers including international speakers.
All my expenditure under the General Expenditure Allowance is fully compliant with the guidelines set down by the Parliament.
MEPs are refunded the actual cost of travel between their member state and the Parliaments in Brussels and Strasbourg. This is a vouched system and I always endeavour where possible to take the lowest cost option available. The total amount of vouched travel from 2014-2018 is:
2016 - €27,599.78
2017 - €22,926.16
2018 - €23,113.70
I am a member of the Single Seat campaign which calls for the Parliament to be located in one place. My personal opinion is that this location should be Brussels. Travelling to Strasbourg every month is not only a waste of public money, but by ending the compulsory travel of MEPs to Strasbourg we would reduce the carbon footprint of the Parliament by 40%. More facts on the uneccessary cost of having two seats can be found here: http://www.singleseat.eu/facts-figures/
MEPs are also entitled to claim their mileage when in Ireland. I made a decision when elected in 2014 that I would not do this as my salary is more than adequate and living in Dublin I choose to use public transport instead.
MEPs hire their own staff within a budget set by Parliament. Sinn Fein works as a grouping in the Parliament but of the number of people employed in that grouping, three work directly with me. Damien Thomson, Policy Coordinator. Breandan O Chonchuir, Policy Advisor on Militarisation, Common Defence and Foreign Affairs. Jonathan Martin Brennan, Policy Advisor on Environment, Food safety and Public Health Committee.
Accredited assistants, based in Brussels are administered and paid directly by Parliament’s administration.
I also have two local Assistants based in Dublin, Enda Fanning, Office Manager, Megan O'Sullivan Sweeney, Communications and Events. Assistants based in an MEP’s home country are handled by qualified paying agents, who guarantee that all appropriate tax and PRSI is paid.
Further details can be found here: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meps/en/124984/LYNN_BOYLAN/assistants#mep-card-content
In the past I have hired an intern for 6 months and they were paid for their internship.
Each day an MEP attends Parliament, they receive €320 provided they sign the attendance register. This payment is to cover the cost of accommodation, food and other expenses when in Brussels and Strasbourg.
This year so far I have received a daily allowance amount of = €4,800
For the year 2018, the total amount that I received was €27,231
For the year 2017, the total amount that I received was = €25,040
For the year 2016, the total amount that I received was = €24,727
For the year 2015, the total amount that I received was = €28,170
For the year 2014, the total amount that I received was = €19,406