Gerry Adams rejects Michael McDowell's claims as Sinn Féin opens accounts to media
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP has described Michael McDowell's ongoing attacks on Sinn Féin as a blatant attempt to try and stop Sinn Féin implementing its agenda for change. He was speaking as the party published its accounts.
Mr. Adams said:
"Over the last week we have seen some quite disgraceful attacks on Sinn Féin by Michael McDowell. He has repeatedly abused his position as Minister of Justice to make unsubstantiated allegations against our party and has failed to produce even one scrap of evidence to back up his malicious claims.
"Recent remarks attributed to Minister McDowell include his claim that Sinn Féin has 'deep and ongoing links with criminality' that Sinn Féin is 'morally unclean' and that he believed that the party is being funded by the proceeds of crime.
"There is no substance to these allegations, whatsoever and they go beyond the normal cut and trust of acceptable political comment, not least because Michael McDowell is speaking in his capacity as Minister of Justice.
"He knows that Sinn Féin's accounts are all properly audited and adhere to all the guidelines set out in both the 6 and 26 Counties in relation to fund-raising and spending, and were recently confirmed as such by the Standards in Public Office Commission.
"Sinn Féin is not involved in politics for economic or personal gain. Indeed within our own party we operate on an egalitarian basis and all of our elected representatives - MPs, TDs and Assembly members - receive the same salary based on the average industrial wage. The rest of the money goes to the party and to our work in the peace process and the development of our constituency services.
"But it is quite clear that Minister McDowell's attacks are really about his concern about Sinn Féin's increased electoral support and our work in bringing about change in Irish society.
"I have no doubt that Minister McDowell will pay little heed to any request from me for him to put up or shut up. He is serving a political agenda, which has little affinity with republicanism or nationalism. But others in the government do represent republican and nationalist constituents who are appalled by Minister McDowell's behaviour.
"While I believe that Mr. McDowell's attacks on Sinn Féin will have as little impact now as they did in the early 1990s when he spoke out against the Hume Adams talks and the peace process I also believe that this crude posturing does reflect a worrying trend within the political establishment in the south.
"It is no accident that the recent Assembly elections saw all the southern parties campaigning against Sinn Féin. Minister McDowell's hysterical outbursts, which have been characteristic of the more rabid Conservative elements of the British political and military establishment over the last thirty years, are evidence of the panic among conservative parties here stunned by Sinn Féin's success.
"The reality is that the electorate in the Six Counties rejected them and mandated our party as the leading pro-agreement party and as the party best able to bring about change. Such a development is obviously a nightmare for Minister McDowell. His fear now is that the southern electorate will do likewise.
"It is time that Mr. McDowell behaved as a Minister of the Irish government instead of using his undoubtedly influential position for party political posturing. He needs to accept that Sinn Féin, as a growing political party on this island, is here to stay." ENDS