Friday 30 September 2016

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams says $500-a-head party fundraising dinner 'wasn’t elitist for the people who were there'

Daniel McConnell and Niall O’Connor

Published 10/11/2015 | 13:04

Gerry Adams: guest of honour
Gerry Adams: guest of honour

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams has said the $500-a-head party fundraising dinner in New York last week “wasn’t elitist for the people who were there.”

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Speaking at a press conference in Dublin today, Mr Adams said those present at the dinner could well afford to pay the cover charge to attend.

“These people can pay and they want to contribute,” Mr Adams said.

“The fact is Sinn Fein engages with the diaspora and in particular Irish America. We regularly go there, brief them and open ourselves to questions. They want to support what is happening here,” Mr Adams said.

“They want to see a different set up here and are playing their part. It was a very successful event and I know you are only voicing genuine journalistic curiosity but I think the other parties are engaging in begrudgery,” he added.

Mr Adams said the Government’s claims that it was unaware of the legal difficulties in relation to the Commission of Inquiry into the IBRC have no credibility.

“The Government’s protestations that it only knew of this recently have no credibility whatsoever. We were raising these issues way back,” he said.

He said this issue involves hundreds of millions of taxpayer’s money. “It is bigger than Siteserv, it is bigger than the IBRC and it is bigger than Nama,” he said.

He accepted he did not specifically raise the issues of privilege and confidentiality around the documents involved in the Commission of Inquiry into the IBRC.

Judge Cregan informed the Government that an issue surrounding his powers in determining on issues of confidential and privilege had meant he “was not in a position to proceed” with his investigation of any relevant transaction where “write-offs” occurred.

Mr Adams said it makes sense to separate the Siteserv issue from the rest of the Inquiry’s work and have it completed it first.

Both Mr Adams and Deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald were slow to lay blame on Attorney General Maire Whelan over the debacle, saying it was in the first instance a matter for the Taoiseach and the Tanaiste.

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