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TD top-up Sinn Féin TD Claire Kerrane forced to 'dip into' €96k salary to run constituency offices

I know many a month I have to dip into it just to cover two constituency offices," said Claire Kerrane, TD for Roscommon–Galway

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Claire Kerrane (Photo: Oireachtas.ie)

Claire Kerrane (Photo: Oireachtas.ie)

Claire Kerrane (Photo: Oireachtas.ie)

Sinn Féin TDs are having to dip into their €96,000 salaries to support local constituency offices, a Deputy has disclosed.

That is despite the supposed abolition of a salary surrender rule, which was scrapped after it appeared to have been unequally applied.

New TD Claire Kerrane of Roscommon–Galway made comment on waning State supports for people struck by the pandemic and forced onto short hours, and then conceded paying out supports herself.

“I think salary situation varies for a number of TDs,” she said.

“I know many a month I have to dip into it just to cover two constituency offices, and it can be difficult to make those payments out of the allowance we have monthly,” she said.

The 29-year-old added: “Party TDs and Senators can make a contribution to the party if they wish, but typically TDs take their salary and do with it what they will.”

She said she had “never felt any pressure from the party on anything, including salary, no.”

Many TDs of all parties and none pay financial support to their constituency offices, which is subsidised through a Public Representation Allowance – although some Deputies and their parties operate more offices than others.

Ms Kerrane said the only point important to add was that Sinn Féin TDs have forgone the 1 per cent any increase in salary, payable to all public servants, which arose last October. She said this was “only right and proper, given the really difficult time that people are facing out there.

“We shouldn't be taking salary increases at this moment in time, and no Sinn Féin TD has accepted that increase. It has gone back to the Exchequer.”

Ms Kerrane referred to the Short Time Work Support payment for people who have been put on reduced days, which is coming to an end because of the duration of the crisis.

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“Many people have been caught in this situation over the last year, particularly those in sectors like aviation and hospitality.

"The maximum amount of time you can spend on this payment is 234 days, and there is a requirement that you have the necessary PRSI contributions.

“The issue here is that for many people relying on these supports, their time is running out on the scheme. I've asked (Social Protection) Minister Humphreys on several occasions to extend the time allowed .

“The only option for people who run out of their payments support is to apply for Jobseeker's Allowance. This is means tested, and it takes the entire household means into account, and that will mean that people will be on much reduced payments, if any payment at all.

“These workers and families need support, and the minister should be stepping up to ensure that there will be no cliff edge for these workers, so I'm calling on the Minister to extend the time allowed beyond the 234 days.”

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