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Fianna Fáil 1980s golden circle culture to blame for findings of Transparency International Report

2 March, 2009

Responding to today’s Transparency International Report Sinn Féin Vice President Mary Lou McDonald MEP has reiterated the party’s demand for political parties to publish annual financial statements. The Dublin MEP noted as deeply worrying that international observers see Ireland as suffering high levels of ‘legal corruption’ adding the Taoiseach cannot continue to wring his hands on this issue yet refuse to actually do anything about it.”

The Sinn Fein Vice President said:

“The Transparency International Report is correct in its assertion that patronage and personal relationships have influenced political decisions and policy in Ireland. This has been to the detriment not only to Ireland’s international reputation but also at a cost to Irish society. What underpins this scourge on Irish politics and society as a whole is Fianna Fail’s 1980s golden circle culture. Fianna Fáil have undermined our economy, fattened the bank accounts of big bankers and greedy developers and left critical public services such as education, transport and health under-funded and in disarray. Enough is enough. The tide is turning as shown by the further collapse in support for the government in last weekends Sunday Business Post polls shows.

“On the issue of political party fiscal transparency this is an exceptionally easy one to tackle. Each year Sinn Féin has published its financial statements for both the north and south. In the north political parties are required under law to provide a full income and expenditure annual financial statement to the electoral commission. We commend this requirement and believe a similar practice should be in place in the south.

“Like all organisations a political party needs an income in order to cover its expenditures. The general public understand that fundraising and donations are part and parcel of generating that income. Where cynicism starts to creep in is when political parties are not open and transparent about their financial affairs.

“It is Sinn Féin’s firm belief that all political parties in the state should be required to submit an annual set of accounts to the Standards in Public Office Commission. Sinn Féin is one of the only political parties in this state to produce an annual set of financial statements available to the general public. In the absence of legislation I believe all political parties should follow our lead.”

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