Wednesday 28 September 2016

Sinn Féin rakes in €4m a year in funding

Published 22/10/2015 | 02:30

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin rakes in almost €4m a year through political donations, State funding and other sources of income North and South of the border.

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Gerry Adams' party is one of the richest political organisations on the island and its revenue-generating exercises are the envy of their political opponents.

Party members in the South have claimed more than €7m in pay and expenses through various schemes in the lifetime of this Government.

This included almost €1m paid through the leader's allowance last year, which can be used to fund party activities.

Sinn Féin TDs and senators are only permitted to earn the average industrial wage and the rest of their salaries are pumped back in to the party machine.

It is estimated that the 14 sitting Sinn Féin TDs hand over around €200,000 a year, which is controlled centrally by party headquarters.

Figures published by Donegal TD Pádraig Mac Lochlainn show he was left with €44,241 after tax when his salary was €92,672 - he is now earning €87,258.

His take-home pay was reduced to €29,000 and the remainder (over €15,000) was given back to the party to pay for constituency expenses.

The same applies to Sinn Féin senators and MEPs.

Sinn Féin politicians in the North take home around £26,000 from salaries, ranging from £48,000 to £120,000 a year, and the rest goes back to the party.

Sinn Féin's elected members of the British parliament do not take salaries as they do not take their seats after election. However, last year the party's five MPs claimed £647,047 (€884,358) in expenses.

Sinn Féin also raises revenue through its magazine 'An Phoblacht' and through its company Republican Merchandising, which sells paraphernalia celebrating Provisional IRA activity.

The party also owns two properties on Parnell Street in Dublin worth €750,000 each and another office in Belfast worth £71,830.

The party has also raised more than $12m (€10.7m) in 20 years through donations from wealthy supporters in the US.

The party holds an annual $500-a-head fundraising event in New York.

Last year alone, Sinn Féin supporters in America forked out $365,994 (€327,123) .

The party's US fundraising wing, The Friends of Sinn Féin, has received huge sums of money from donors as diverse as philanthropists Chuck Feeney, who has given the party $780,000 (€687,891), to film actors Martin Sheen and Dennis Hopper.

Sinn Féin's fundraising activities in the US generate far more income than any other Irish political party. However, the party is not permitted to use the money for any of its political work in Ireland.

Irish Independent

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