Belfast Telegraph

Irish watchdog can't query Sinn Fein's US funding

By Niall O'Connor

A senior official at the Republic's ethics watchdog has admitted that Sinn Fein's overseas fundraising is beyond the remit of his organisation.

Des O'Neill, who is an investigator with the Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPO), confirmed that he has received a small number of complaints over the manner in which Sinn Fein is raising its cash.

But Mr O'Neill said he has been shown no evidence to suggest that the party is committing anything untoward.

Significantly, Mr O'Neill said SIPO cannot investigate the republican party's US fundraising arm because it doesn't have the power to do so.

"The commission has no remit outside the boundaries of this state," Mr O'Neill said when asked if he has made any representation to have SIPO's remit extended.

"The legislation passed in this state only applies in this state.

"The commission is satisfied that the provisions of the Electoral Acts have no application to political contributions made to Sinn Fein in Northern Ireland, or made to entities such as Friends of Sinn Fein in the US or elsewhere, which are given and applied for the purpose of funding of Sinn Fein's political/electoral activities outside this state.

"The commission has no remit outside the boundaries of this state.

"The commission has no evidence that any funding has been made available to Sinn Fein in this state from monies generated in the US or elsewhere," the senior official added.

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