SF refutes criminality accusation

Sinn Fein's office in Dublin has published accounts for the first time yesterday in an effort to counter allegations of wrongdoing by Dublin's Justice Minister.

In a highly criticised move, Michael McDowell last week alleged the party was being supported by criminal activities conducted by the IRA.

Party president Gerry Adams described the minister's comments as ``disgraceful attacks''.

He said Mr McDowell had abusing his position as Minister for Justice to make unsubstantiated claims without producing ``even a scrap of evidence to back up his malicious claims''.

``There is no substance to these allegations whatsoever and they go beyond the normal cut and trust of acceptable political comment, not least because Michael McDowell is speaking in his capacity as Minister of Justice,'' Mr Adams said.

The party president was speaking as his party released his annual accounts which he said had been verified by the Standard in Public Office Commission.

``Sinn Fein is not involved in politics for economic or personal gain. Indeed within our own party we operate on an egalitarian basis and all of our elected representatives - MPs, TDs and Assembly members - receive the same salary based on the average industrial wage.

``The rest of the money goes to the party and to our work in the peace process and the development of our constituency services.''

Mr Adams claimed that Mr McDowell's comments were politically motivated.

``It is no accident that the recent Assembly elections saw all the southern parties campaigning against Sinn Féin. Minister McDowell's hysterical outbursts, which have been characteristic of the more rabid Conservative elements of the British political and military establishment over the last thirty years, are evidence of the panic among conservative parties here stunned by Sinn Féin's success.''

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