Most of the reporting on Sinn Fein’s finances can be safely filed under the category of smoke without fire. Jokes abound re the $26 million taken in the bank robbery. But proof is still unforthcoming as to whether or not the party’s sister organisation the IRA was even involved. However last week there was an interesting story in The Times, which shows the party dipping into the deficit that most of the Republic’s party’s have been subsisting on for some time.
Still the party is in a healthier financial position than any of its rivals. The report quotes an earlier report by the Sunday Business Post:
It [Sinn Fein] produces three sets of accounts: one covering all of Irelands thirty-two counties, another for the twenty-six counties of the Republic and the third for the six counties of Northern Ireland. The Republic’s Standards in Public Office Commission to which all parties must make an annual financial declaration is authorised to examine only the 26-counties report and in any case has never conducted an audit of any political party, saying that it accepts the accounts at face value. But the Sunday Business Post said that it had discovered anomalies between the three sets of accounts, for instance a declaration of “admin expenses” was three times more in one than in another. There were also widely different figures for donations between all three accounts.
It then switches attention to Des Mackin, Sinn Fein’s millionnaire finance director, who explained the party’s low comparatively level of expenses: “We’re a party with a core of voluntarism. We don’t have to pay anyone to put up posters. We don’t have to pay people to do anything.”