In June 2019 I was elected as a Green Party MEP (Member of the European Parliament) for the constituency of Ireland South for the term 2019-2024. In the interests of transparency, I am sharing the following information regarding my salary, travel, allowances and lobbying.
I work from offices provided by the European Parliament in Brussels and Strasbourg, from my office in Cork City, and also from my home in Tramore. The European Parliament holds a Plenary session in Strasbourg, France, one week out of every month. During this week I pay for my hotel accommodation from a subsistence allowance that I receive from the European Parliament for days spent away from home. The European Parliament pays for the international travel costs incurred for my travel between Tramore and Brussels/Strasbourg. I rent an apartment in Brussels, where I stay when I am in Brussels. An overview of European Parliament allowances can be viewed here.
My monthly gross European Parliament salary as an MEP is €9,386.29 (as of 1 January 2022). On this I pay EU tax and insurance contributions, after which the salary is €7,316.63 which is then subject to Irish tax.
I employ three Accredited Parliamentary Assistants in Brussels, and two Local Assistants in Ireland South. The names of my staff are available here. I am obliged by the rules of the Parliament to employ an Irish ‘Paying Agent’ for my Irish staff, currently P.F.POWER & CO/Falcon Accounting.
MEPs are refunded the actual cost of their travel tickets between their hometowns, Brussels and Strasbourg on presentation of receipts and boarding passes. They also cover the costs of travelling to conferences which have direct relevance to their Parliamentary work. Given that my travel plans often change at the last minute due to agenda changes and personal caring responsibilities, I sometimes buy a more expensive flexible ticket.
The Belgian Government provides all MEPs with a travel pass valid for first class rail transport in Belgium. The European Parliament also makes available cars or minibuses and drivers for travel between airports and the Parliament in both Brussels and Strasbourg. I travel by public transport unless I am under severe time pressure or there is no alternative. The Parliament also makes available E-Bikes and bikes to MEPs and staff and I use this facility frequently.
A General Expenditure Allowance of €4,778 per month is available to cover office management costs, telephone and postal charges, meeting and events costs and the purchase, operation and maintenance of computers, and other office supplies and equipment. All expenses covered by this allowance must be linked to the exercise of the MEP’s mandate, a list of which can be viewed here. In 2019 I spent approximately €10,157.77 of this General Expenditure Allowance, in 2020 €9149.80 and in 2021 €21,294. Due to the partial year of 2019 in my term and COVID-19 affecting the potential to use the GEA in 2020, these figures represent a significant underspend to a typical financial year.
I also comply with the Greens/EFA Group’s internal guidelines around the GEA, namely that the GEA must be handled in a separate bank account, and spending of the GEA should be accountable and transparent. In line with this,my GEA expenditure for 2020 and 2021 has been audited by a chartered accountant, who has verified that my spending is line with European Parliament rules. I have returned previously unspent amounts of the GEA back to the Parliament, and will return all total unused amounts before the end of my mandate, as per Greens/EFA policy.You can find my voluntary confirmation on the use of the General Expenditure Allowance here. The Greens/EFA Group have long pushed for such accountability and transparency measures to be applied to all MEPs.
The European Parliament pays MEPs a daily subsistence allowance of €338 for every day they sign in to work at the European Parliament in either Brussels or Strasbourg. This is to cover accommodation and meal costs in Brussels and Strasbourg.
Additional funding is available to my political group (the Greens/European Free Alliance) under the ‘400 budget line’ for expenditure on political and information activities conducted by the group in connection with the European Union’s political activities. I have used this facility to carry out research on the Irish tax system and on the EU-Mercosur Trade Agreement, publish newspaper adverts in my constituency of Ireland South, to commission bookmarks with Irish wildflower seeds, and to cover accommodation and travel costs of visitor groups coming to Brussels. I also plan to use the 400 budget line to purchase some sustainably sourced Greens/EFA branded merchandise, and further research studies throughout the rest of the mandate.
Members of the European Parliament and their staff often meet with lobbyists, both from industry and civil society. It is a normal part of the legislative procedure to hear from different stakeholders on legislative priorities and topical issues. Any meetings that my staff or I hold with lobbyists are recorded online here You can also read my formal declarations of financial interest and good conduct here.
If there is any other area you think I should declare, please do let me know by contacting me on firstname.lastname@example.org