Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Proposals to change Party funding regulations a further attack on the democratic process

6 May, 2004

Sinn Féin Chairperson, Mitchel Mc Laughlin has described the proposals to change Political Party funding regulations as both ludicrous and an attack on the democratic process.

Mr Mc Laughlin said:

"While the proposed changes will have little or no effect on Sinn Féin's international lobbying and publicity operations it is nonetheless further evidence of just how far the British government is prepared to go in attempts to restrict Sinn Féin's growing influence. The vast bulk of these funds are spent in the countries of origin and studiously scrutinised by the respective governments

"The fact that the proposals will provide provisions for the continuation of anonymous contributions to parties at the specific request of the SDLP would indicate that it is other parties rather than Sinn Féin that have reason to fear transparency. Who are these anonymous donors? Sinn Féin is the only Party on this island to voluntarily open it books and sources of finance to public scrutiny.

"This is just the latest in a series of measures to deny Sinn Féin sources of funding that is available to all other parties. Not only has Sinn Féin, because we refuse to take an oath to the British Queen, been denied over £100,000 in Policy Development Grants that is available to Parties with more than two MP's at Westminster but this finance has been divided equally between the SDLP, UUP and DUP.

"We had last week's decision by Paul Murphy to withhold £120,000 of Assembly funding from our Party and now this further attempt to restrict party fund raising. These regulations are not just designed to somehow stop the electoral advance of Sinn Féin; it is a direct attack on the democratic process. Having changed the electoral regulations eleven times since Sinn Féin's entry into electoral politics but still failing to get the result they wanted at the ballot box the British government is now attempting to influence the political process through withholding funding entitlements and attempting to restrict Sinn Féin's ability to fundraise.

But just as 25 years of censorship failed to stop the Sinn Féin advance so too will these attacks which are direct attacks on our electorate and the democratic process itself." ENDS

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