Business Irish

Friday 21 October 2016

Investors warned about Sinn Fein's economic policies

Major bank outlines risks of SF in government

Philip Ryan and Maeve Sheehan

Published 13/12/2015 | 02:30

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams
Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams

A major international investment bank has issued a stark warning about the possibility of Sinn Fein being in government to investors considering taking a punt on Ireland's resurgent economy.

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German financial power- house Commerzbank AG told investors that Sinn Fein in power would be a risk to Ireland's "phoenix from the ashes" recovery.

In a note to investors, Commerzbank economist Peter Dixon said: "The rise of Sinn Fein at the expense of Labour should raise some concerns that the fiscal stance may not be as tight in future as currently projected, given that Sinn Fein's policies imply a much greater role for the state in the economy."

His comments - reported by business media company Bloomberg - follow a similar warning from US investment giant Goldman Sachs, which described Sinn Fein as the "biggest risk" to Ireland's recovery and compared Gerry Adam's party to Syriza in Greece.

Sinn Fein rejected the bank's assessment at the time.

The party's finance spokesman Pearse Doherty hit back at Commerzbank yesterday, saying Bloomberg failed to mention the note also stated that there are "no market concerns" over a change of government in Ireland.

Mr Doherty also said Mr Dixon had not seen Sinn Fein's election policies and it was inaccurate for him to suggest the party will spend outside of strict government spending limits.

"We have outlined in all of our alternative budgets that all of our policies will be delivered within the fiscal space outlined by the Irish Government," he told the Sunday Independent.

However, junior finance minister Simon Harris said there is "no doubt" that Sinn Fein's economic policies pose a threat to Ireland attracting international investment.

"We need to put policies in place that attract business and investment in Ireland, and Sinn Fein's policies will simply destroy that prospect," Mr Harris said.

"We have many thousands of people employed through foreign direct investment, and Sinn Fein's policy of hiking taxes will make the country a less attractive place to work."

Meanwhile, new figures show that Sinn Fein raised just under €220,000 from its Irish donors and subscribers in 2013 - half of what it collects through fundraising in the United States.

The party's financial statements for 2013, published last month, show that it received €1.8m in State funds that year and €219,686 in subscriptions, donations and other fundraisers.

Sinn Fein spent most of that on wages, which totalled €1.1m. Other expenses included €30,777 on "redundancy payments" and €76,199 which it spent on the "organisation development unit" which is responsible for growing the party.

It donated €4,675 to unspecified charities in 2013 and spent €6,924 on the National Ploughing Championship, €837 on "expenses" for the Women's Department and another €4,765 in "sundryexpenses".

Sunday Independent

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