Ó Caoláin: To return to the questions
posed by Deputy Kenny, is it not the case that the
Taoiseach's response to the Deputy's remarks only
fuels the remarks of the Minister for Justice, Equality
and Law Reform, Deputy McDowell, in casting a disgraceful
slur on the party I and other colleagues in this House
are proud to represent? Is it not the case that a
veil is being used of so-called security briefings?
Rather than stating he does not have such evidence,
he should affirm quite categorically that there is
no such evidence, because there is no such linkage.
Sinn Féin has not just met the statutory requirements
to furnish annual accounts, it has voluntarily submitted
these accounts to the Revenue Commissioners. It submits
to the requirements of the Standards in Public Office
Commission and to the electoral office in the Six
Counties. Will the Taoiseach agree that Sinn Féin
is one of the most scrutinised parties in the country?
Its accounts are not just scrutinised on this side
of the Border, but north of the Border and in regard
to the party's ongoing work in the United States.
it not the case that there is absolutely no evidence
and that the remarks of the Minister for Justice,
Equality and Law Reform are a scurrilous slight on
this party? Is the Taoiseach aware of the great hurt
and vexation caused to elected voices and supporters
of this party throughout the island of Ireland and
abroad? Is he aware that if he is not prepared to
deny categorically the charges so abusively presented
to the media by the president of the Progressive Democrats
in his role as Minister for Justice, Equality and
Law Reform, he is aligning himself with these views
and that there is a requirement on him to set the
Taoiseach: I do not think Deputy Ó Caoláin
should get too upset. I have spent most of my nine
years as leader of my party defending it in regard
to investigations and examinations into all kinds
of issues. I have had to answer to tribunals and facilitate
all kinds of investigations. It comes with the territory
in a democratic society. I have had to take on the
issues and deal with them.
have said to Deputy Kenny that I have no information
on the issue. Sinn Féin continues to make clear
how it is funded. I have made it absolutely clear
that I have no other information. However, I am not
the Garda Commissioner, the CAB or the special investigation
unit. What I am merely saying is that I am aware the
Garda has been investigating certain activities by
people who may have connections with the Provisional
IRA. I also said there have been allegations from
time to time that Provisional IRA members have been
involved in what might be called organised crime,
for example, robberies and hijackings of goods. If
I say anything else, Deputies will say I am misleading
the House. I will not go into the details. In fact,
I will not say anything, because Deputies could deem
anything I say to be unfair.
Deputy Kenny acknowledged, I cannot stand up in the
House and give security briefings. Neither can I say
I have not been briefed. If the Deputy tells me his
party has complied with the Standards in Public Office
Commission and the electoral Act, I will believe him,
even though when he raises issues in the House he
says he does not believe what I or my party say. I
will pay Deputy Ó Caoláin the courtesy
of believing him.
Ó Caoláin: Given its seriousness,
the issue requires a focus. I do not agree with the
Taoiseach. It does not come with the territory. I
roundly reject the sourcing of funding through criminal
activity for Sinn Féin or any other political
party. This is not acceptable under any circumstances.
We are talking about funding of Sinn Féin which
has met every requirement and demand of it. I will
personally furnish the Taoiseach with a copy of our
accounts so that he
will be well aware of the facts in regard to this
are in competition with Fianna Fáil and all
the other political parties. It is no coincidence
that following Sinn Féin's becoming the largest
nationalist voice north of the Border this attack
has been launched on the integrity of our party. It
is not only an attack on the name "Sinn Féin",
it is an attack on each individual member of the party
and the supporters throughout the country.
the Taoiseach not recognise that involved in all of
this is the very dangerous situation that it represents
an undermining of confidence in terms of both the
peace process and the political process, with Sinn
Féin seeking at this point to move forward
from the electoral result north of the Border? What
has been said is grist to the mill of the Democratic
Unionist Party. Comments made previously in this House
were grist to their mill and are now repeated. It
will be used again to further stall and thwart the
normalisation of politics on this island.
Ceann Comhairle: As I previously pointed to the
Deputy, we cannot have a separate Standing Order for
Ó Caoláin: This is how serious the
matter is. It ill behoves the Minister for Justice,
Equality and Law Reform, the Taoiseach or anyone else
to think or act as they have done.
Ceann Comhairle: Deputy Ó Caoláin
must resume his seat. There cannot be a separate Standing
Order for the Deputy.
Taoiseach: Deputy Ó Caoláin is protesting
his innocence, but I have not said anything about
his guilt so I am not obliged to answer. I merely
said that accusations about how one obtains one's
funding come with the territory in democratic political
life. In September I saw a programme about funding
on RTE, the national television station, which would
make one think members of my party were a crowd of
criminals. I did not get excited, nor did any of my
colleagues, because this is part of the territory.
One must defend oneself in these positions. If Deputy
Ó Caoláin has complied with requirements,
such as those of the Public Offices Commission, it
would be as relevant for him to send me his accounts
as it would be for me to send him my accounts.
Ó Caoláin: I would like to-----
Ceann Comhairle: Allow the Taoiseach to continue
Taoiseach: If Deputy Ó Caoláin's
accounts are in order, they are in order. I am not
an auditor for his accounts.
G. Mitchell: They are audited by P. O'Neill and
Taoiseach: Deputy Ó Caoláin says
that none of these-----
Ceann Comhairle: The Taoiseach's time is concluded.
Taoiseach: I am sorry, a Cheann Comhairle.
Hayes: He is going well.
Taoiseach: I have only said what I have said.
I cannot withdraw anything for Deputy Ó Caoláin
because I have said nothing other than that I believe
J. Higgins: The Taoiseach is being frank for a
Taoiseach: I am just stating my position. If Deputy
Ó Caoláin wants to raise any question
I will try to answer him but senior people from his
party have told me that none of this applies to them
and I accept that. The Garda Commissioner, of whom
I must also take account, said that certain activities
of people who may have connections with the Provisional
IRA were being investigated. That is all I am saying.
Ring: The Taoiseach is keeping all sides happy.
Durkan: He is neither on one side nor the other
- he is in the middle.
Index: Current Articles + Latest News and Views + Book Reviews +
Letters + Archives