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.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty