Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Sinn Féin to Make Submission on Electoral Funding

10 March, 2004

Speaking in advance of the Electoral Commission's public hearings into the Funding of Political Parties scheduled to take place in Belfast tomorrow, Sinn Féín MLA Francie Molloy said that the hearings afforded the opportunity to highlight serious concerns which now exist about British government interference in the electoral and democratic process.

Mr Molloy said:

"Sinn Féin are looking forward to participating in tomorrow's public hearings conducted by the Electoral Commission into the funding of political parties. There are currently very serious concerns about the conduct of the electoral process in the six counties and the negative influence which the British government have exerted over it in recent years.

"Since the Good Friday Agreement the British government have made four separate interventions to undermine the electoral and democratic process. They have:

  • suspended the political institutions
  • with the Irish government established the IMC as an institutional camouflage for excluding Sinn Féin from the political process and are new actively considering that option
  • disenfranchised over 200,000 voters in an attempt to get an electorate which suits them
  • discriminated in favour of the SDLP to the tune of £200,000 of public money and against Sinn Féín in an attempt to help the SDLPs election fortunes in the allocation of policy development grants.

"In short they have created and sustained an unlevel electoral playing field.

"Tomorrow's hearing will provide an opportunity to address at least the later point and also provide a platform for us to submit our own ideas on the wider issue of party funding. We are demanding that the discrimination against Sinn Féin's electorate is ended.

"We are proposing that all donations are recorded and that all anonymous donations are limited to £50.00. It is also our firm belief that Irish citizens living abroad should be allowed to donate to political parties of their choice at home and that a cap or limit on the size of donations should be agreed as a result of discussions between the political parties.

"Sinn Féin are broadly in favour of state funding for political parties as long as it is administered on the basis of equality. Properly regulated state funding will have the effect of preventing undue influence over the political process by corporate bodies and lobbyists.

"It is our hope that tomorrows hearings will be a starting point for an open debate on not just the issue of party funding, but on the current state of the overall electoral process in the six counties." ENDS

Editors Note: Sinn Féin Assembly member Francie Molloy will lead the party delegation to appear at the public hearings. The Sinn Féin delegation will make their submission to the Electoral Commission at 4pm in the Spires Centre in Belfast City centre

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