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Prof John Crown is donating his entire Seanad salary to cancer research, saying it would be inappropriate to accept two public wages. Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland
Seanad Expenses

Senator donating entire Seanad salary to cancer research

Prof John Crown is also putting his parliamentary expenses towards the employment of a political policy researcher.

PROFESSOR JOHN CROWN has confirmed he is donating his entire Seanad salary – of over €65,000 per year – to cancer research, following through on a pre-election promise not to draw two public salaries.

Crown – who is still continuing to work as a consultant oncologist in St Luke’s and St Vincent’s Hospitals – said he was donating his salary to a Dublin-based trust researching improved treatments for cancer sufferers.

When contacted by TheJournal.ie this morning, Crown said he was not seeking to portray himself “as a Mother Teresa figure”, and that the “dirty little secret” of the Seanad was that being a Senator is not generally a full-time job for independent members.

“I had always said it when I was going for election – if you’re not looking to elect a full-time politician, don’t vote for me.

I make good money from my medical practice, I’m on a public salary… I made a decision at the time I was running for the Seanad that it would not be appropriate for me to accept two public wages.

Crown explained that he was able to maintain his full-time work by holding private consultations after 5pm two nights a week and by completing his usual ward rounds earlier each morning.

Crown also said that his parliamentary expenses allowance – worth just over €1,350 per month – was being used to pay the salary of a policy researcher he had hired in Leinster House.

“The expenses are paid into something called the John Crown Seanad account, and I’ve hired a young guy who’s doing research work on areas like healthcare reform and on constitutional reform,” he said.

Oireachtas records show Crown as having one of the best attendance records of any member of the Seanad, having clocked in on all but one sitting day so far.

Crown separately revealed that he would still be prepared to sign a nomination paper for his fellow Trinity College senator David Norris to contest the presidential election, if Norris were to decide that he would re-enter.

“As I’ve said repeatedly, I do not believe it’s at all likely he can be nominated, but if he goes forward, I am prepared to nominate him.”

The senator added that he had not been approached by any other candidate seeking his nomination to try and contest the presidential election. Candidates are required to gain the support of either four county and city councils, or 20 members of the Oireachtas, to enter.

He also indicated that he was researching whether it would be possible to “cobble together” a private members’ bill which would ban members of the Oireachtas from writing to members of a judiciary in relation to individual cases, in response to the scandal over Norris’s letter seeking clemency for a former partner awaiting sentencing for the statutory rape of a 15-year-old.

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