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Sinn Fein's policies 'could ruin recovery in Republic'

By Philip Ryan and Maeve Sheehan

Published 14/12/2015

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

A major international investment bank has issued a stark warning to investors about the possibility of Sinn Fein being in government in the Irish Republic.

German financial powerhouse Commerzbank AG told investors that Sinn Fein in power in the Republic would be a risk to its "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 called Sinn Fein the "biggest risk" to Ireland's recovery and compared Gerry Adams'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 said there are "no market concerns" over a change of government in the South.

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" 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 £160,000 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 (£1.3m) in State funds that year and €219,686 (£59,171) in subscriptions, donations and other fundraisers.

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