Commons to cut all financial support for Sinn Fein MPs
THE isolation of Sinn Fein continued yesterday as the House of Commons voted to cut all financial support for its four Members of Parliament.
Martin McGuinness, Gerry Adams and their two Sinn Fein parliamentary colleagues lost about 440,000 in salary and expenses as punishment for the party’s links to an IRA bank robbery.
But a cross-party attempt to ban them permanently from the Palace of Westminster was rejected - narrowly saving Sinn Fein from returning to the pariah status of the 1980s.
Peter Hain, the Leader of the Commons, said the move reflected the "profound disapproval of this house" that the IRA has transformed itself into a mafia-style gang running an underworld in Belfast. While MPs had been willing two years ago to restore Sinn Fein’s use of parliamentary money, its "extraordinary and abhorrent" offer to shoot those responsible for the pub murder of Robert McCartney exposed its true nature, he said.
It emerged yesterday that similar moves are afoot in the European Parliament, where Sinn Fein has had two MEPs since the elections last summer. Conservative MEPs have lodged a protest with Brussels authorities, saying Sinn Fein is hand in glove with the IRA, which can unhesitatingly be described as a criminal gang.
The link, which Sinn Fein denies, has been made easier by the Irish government’s decision to name Mr Adams and Mr McGuinness as members of the IRA’s ruling Army Council.
If complaints are upheld, Sinn Fein could lose allowances of €400,000 (280,000) in addition to their Commons money. This has forced the party into a new drive to raise American money.
Mr Adams, the president of Sinn Fein, has for the first time in a decade not been invited to the White House celebrations in Washington for St Patrick’s Day next week.
The president, George Bush, has instead invited the five sisters of Mr McCartney, a Roman Catholic understood to have been killed by two IRA men after intervening in a pub brawl five weeks ago.
Sinn Fein’s audited accounts show an organisation flush with financial resources. It had an income of €2.04 million (1.42 million) in 2003 - a jump of 30 per cent. Its overseas division raised 1.8 million between 1997 and 2002.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Tuesday 21 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 3 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: North west