Gerry Adams said in a YouTube broadcast (below) on Friday 16 September that Martin McGuinness will draw the average industrial wage if elected President. Sinn Fein's ardchomhairle nominated McGuinness as a candidate for the 2011 Presidential Election. Drawing the average industrial wage is Sinn Fein policy for elected representatives. [Updated Sunday, 18 September]
In an interview on RTE Radio One's This Week programme, McGuinness said that the remainder of the presidential salary would be "donated to the Irish people".
The 2011 average industrial wage in 2011 in the Republic of Ireland (to date) is €35,486.88, according to the CSO. Mary McAleese receives €292,500 as President, down 10% from her 2010 salary; she offered in December 2010 to take a cut in salary from €325,000 to €250,000.
Other candidates in the presidential race were asked at the MacGill Summer School in Glenties on July 29 if they would consider a cut in the Presidential salary. Mary Davis, who this week received the nomination of sufficient councils to run as an independent candidate, said that whatever salary is set by the government, she will accept. She said that the salary is "not question of money... it's a question of how much you can do [as President]." Mary Davis said the salary should not be higher than the Taoiseach's salary, currently €200,000 having been reduced from €214,187 in March 2011 by Enda Kenny.
Labour Party candidate Michael D. Higgins said that if elected, he will not be drawing his pension and is happy to accept the salary as set. When asked about his position on accepting a salary cut, Fine Gael-backed candidate and currently a Fine Gael MEP, Gay Mitchell replied: "The point you make is valid. I have no difficulty with thrust of the question on salary."
Of the Presidential Election Mr. Adams said there is "a need for authentic politics" and "a need for the work done by Mary McAleese to be continued in terms of the inclusivity, outreach and bringing people together". He said that the proposal to nominate Martin McGuinness "is about Sinn Fein trying to create a platform where Martin can continue the work that he has done in the six counties in terms of reconciliation."
In a statement on the Sinn Fein website, Adams said: “I would appeal, if Martin contests this election, for people to join in this campaign, including people in the North and across the diaspora who are denied a vote at this time. The campaign will give citizens the opportunity to make a stand for a better Ireland, for a united Ireland."
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