THE other parties must be green with envy at the success of Sinn Féin’s fundraising efforts – particularly in the United States, where they raised m over a 20-year period – making them very well resourced to fight the upcoming general election campaign in the Republic of Ireland within the next year. The fact that they are also Northern Ireland-based gives them more flexibility with the way the money can be funnelled either side of the border for election campaigns.
Last week, in the days leading up to the Sinn Féin Árd Fheis in Derry, The Irish Times ran a strategically-timed and very pointed series of articles about the party’s fundraising and the irony of all the contributions it got from big business who would not generally be fans of left-wing parties. In fact, these businesses would abhor Sinn Féin’s economic policies.
Defiantly – and obviously also thinking of the Máiria Cahill allegations – in his presidential address to the Árd Fheis on Saturday night, leader Gerry Adams boasted that the ‘tsunami of untruth and smears’ against the party had failed and that they would be in government also in the South after the next general election. A motion at the gathering, however, ruled out joining any government as the junior party.
Mr Adams made plenty of populist promises to try to ensure that Sinn Féin’s current popularity in the opinion polls is reflected where it counts – in the ballot boxes. These included scrapping water charges and the local property tax, while introducing a wealth tax and a third rate of income tax for those earning over €100,000 a year.
However, they are just promises and circumstances after an election don’t always mean that they can be delivered upon. Can the people trust Sinn Féin to deliver where all the other parties have fallen down in the past? The jury will be out on this one for a while.