This is getting to be something a bad soap opera. The Irish Independent claims that the party has claimed more than â¬1.5m from the Republic’s taxpayers last year. The Labour party has produced a draft Electoral (Amendment) Bill to give effect to law that could suspend payments to the party in the Republic as well as Stormont.
“Under such a law, the biggest potential loss for Sinn Fein would be its annual Party Leader’s Allowance which came to â¬285,550 last year and which is intended to fund parliamentary research and policy. As the Provisionals’ best-known Oireachtas research recently has been a spying operation targeting government ministers and TDs, a case could be made for withholding the Party Leader’s Allowance”.
“In 2004, Sinn Fein qualified for an additional windfall worth â¬310,730 in reimbursements from the Department of Finance following the local and European elections. While the party declared an expenditure of â¬313,939 and 81c in the European election campaign, it was repaid â¬38,092 for each of its four candidates. At the same time, its 25 candidates in the local elections received a combined reimbursement payment of nearly â¬160,000”.
By contrast, the Progressive Democrats, home of Justice Minister and Sinn Fein bete noire Michael McDowell, did not receive a cent from the taxpayer for last year’s Euro elections as it did not field a candidate. The year before, it qualified for â¬303,264 Exchequer funding, compared to Sinn Fein’s â¬416,566.