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Independent TD defends €42,000 'party leader' payments

Finian McGrath says he spends his €42,000 payment on extra staff wages and “research and development”.

Independent TD Finian McGrath.
Independent TD Finian McGrath.
Image: Barry Cronin/PA Wire

INDEPENDENT TD Finian McGrath has defended his receipt of a ‘party leader’ allowance on top of his regular TD’s salary, but says that the payments should be given as vouched expenses instead.

Party leaders in the Dáil and independent TDs are entitled to payments worth around €42,000 a year, while senators are entitled to an allowance of €23,383 a year.

Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast McGrath said that he receives the €42,000 payment and uses it to pay extra staff wages and “the costs of research and development”, as well as paying costs arising from his constituency office.

“There’s no way the Independent TDs are allowed or can spend this money on themselves,” he said. He added that he puts his spending details on his website “so my constituents can see every month how I spend the money relating to that particular issue”.

“I would feel very strongly that [expenses] should be vouched” instead, he added, before saying that he believed TD salaries are too high, given the cuts being levelled at areas such as school funding.

McGrath said he believed there should be some sort of funding in place for helping people to enter politics so that they would not rely on developers “or rich people” to fund them or parties, and would be able to stand for election against big parties.

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